Why support Blue Sky?
The income that Blue Sky receives from commercial work can only cover the direct cost of employing ex-offenders – charging any more would make us uncompetitive in the markets in which we operate. This income does not cover the cost of all the additional support that we provide and that helps keep our employees in work and out of prison.
To deliver this support and the value it brings, Blue Sky relies on grants from trusts and foundations, donations from individuals and support from corporate partners.
1. We address a major social problem
There are approximately 90,000 prisoners in England and Wales. 60% will re-offend within 2 years of release. The cost to the UK taxpayer of re-offending is estimated at £13 billion a year.
2. We deliver a unique solution
Having a job reduces the chance of re-offending by 50% yet 75% of prisoners are released to unemployment (ex-offenders find it 8 times harder to find a job than someone with no criminal record). To tackle this discrepancy, Blue Sky’s sole purpose is to employ and support ex-offenders.
3. We work with people to turn their lives around
As well as guaranteed work for 6 months, Blue Sky provides each employee with a personalised package of supervision, mentoring and resettlement support that covers training, housing and on-going employment. At the heart of its delivery is the principle that our support must be peer-led. Our Teams Director, Teams Co-ordinator and supervisors are all ex-offenders who understand many of the challenges that our employees face day-to-day.
4. We reach out to those in need
We have developed special initiatives to create employment opportunities for serving women prisoners who as a group experience disproportionate hardship (Blue Sky Inside) and for ex-services personnel with a criminal record (Project Victor) and who find it hard to return to society.
5. We operate at scale
Our employment-based model is highly scalable. Since 2005 and thanks to the success of our commercial operations (the motor for creating for jobs ex-offenders) we have now employed over 1,000 people – equivalent to the population of a large prison. This makes us the single biggest employer of offenders in the country.
6. We generate significant return on investment
The re-offending rate of our employees is just 15%, a quarter of the national average. Every £1 that Blue Sky receives in charitable income generates a social return on investment of £17.40 in reducing the costs of re-offending (calculated by The Impetus Trust and independently audited by the Social Return on Investment network).
7. We challenge social attitudes
Blue Sky employees work in a diverse range of locations – from public parks to the kitchens of major financial institutions. Clothes produced by Blue Sky employees at a women’s prison have even graced a fashion show at the Old Bailey and been worn by the Lord Mayor of London. Thanks to Blue Sky, people from different walks of life are seeing ex-offenders in a new light as hard-working citizens deserving of a second chance.
If you would like to learn more about how you or your organisation could support Blue Sky then please complete the form below:
“The idea of a company that just employs ex-offenders is ingenious and it has obviously been working very well”
Theresa May, Home Secretary
“As my contract was coming to an end Blue Sky supported me to start up my own flooring business. I don’t know how I would have been able to do it without all their help” Mark