Kate’s Blog: Blue Sky’s Theory of Change14
“I feel more like the person I am supposed to be.”
“I don’t want to go backwards because I can see how my life has improved.”
Two powerful endorsements of the transformational impact that having a job can have on the life of ex-offenders, as featured in Blue Sky’s new Theory of Change which I’m delighted to share with you, the result of a 4-month project with Blue Sky team members and many of our ex-offender beneficiaries. Click here to download an ‘infographic’ of our findings.
Through focus groups, surveys and individual interviews with our beneficiaries – conducted by an independent agency – we have identified the short, medium and long-term changes that ex-offenders achieve by securing employment with Blue Sky.
The stark need for Blue Sky’s work rings loud throughout the findings of our Theory of Change, demonstrated through the common themes that emerged: the high levels of anxiety, ill health and peer pressure on leaving prison; the immense loneliness and social isolation as individuals move away from old social networks; the lack of confidence and basic skills to understand the workplace.
“I feel so terribly lonely that I wouldn’t be happy even if I won the Lottery…”
But the longer our employees sustain employment then the greater and longer-term the positive benefits: a commitment not to re-offend; feeling legitimate and connected to society; being a role model for loved ones.
“I’m taking my mum away for her 60th birthday. Before I just made her cry…”
We have a number of reasons for publishing our Theory of Change. First, to demonstrate our commitment to our beneficiaries and ensure their voice sits at the heart of Blue Sky. The feedback from our beneficiaries will in part inform how we shape services going forward. Secondly, to illustrate to our funders, supporters and commercial partners the incredible transformation that they help create in the lives of ex-offenders.
It is a compelling reminder that having a job is the single most effective factor in reducing re-offending, yet 75% of people leave prison to unemployment. Having a purpose makes us legitimate, gives us identify and ensure we are connected to society. So thanks to everyone for their support and loyalty to Blue Sky, without which none of this would be possible.
Blue Sky Development & Regeneration