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Blue Sky builds WWII shelter

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21
Mar

As the nation celebrates Dame Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday, whose song of “blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover” warmed hearts during the blitz, Blue Sky has also been commemorating World War II. As part of a Lottery funded project at Heritage Garden, Gunnersby Park, the Blue Sky Services team has built an Anderson shelter, a construction that protected people from bomb blasts.

Steve Finn (pictured left), Teams Director for Blue Sky Services, said: “We’re proud to show what out our team can turn its hand to – a wide range of services to improve and enhance the environment. And we’re honoured to be part of this project at Gunnersby and in particular to remember those who endured such hardships during the war.”

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Vacancies at Blue Sky, a unique social enterprise

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17
Feb

Blue Sky is a unique social enterprise that promotes the resettlement and rehabilitation of offenders, ex-offenders and those at risk of offending by providing employment opportunities and targeted training provision.

The company has found jobs for more than 1,350 people since its creation in 2005, and due to increased demand for our services, we are looking to recruit new staff to enable us to increase the number of people who benefit from our services.

We are currently recruiting to the posts of

To apply for these posts, please submit your CV and a covering letter that tells us how you meet the person specification for the job that you are applying for.  The closing date for applications is Monday 6th March 2017 (midday).

CVs and covering letters should be emailed to:-

Geetha.Saba-Nathan@blueskydevelopment.co.uk

or sent to:-

Geetha Saba-Nathan

Blue Sky Development & Regeneration

Colne Valley Park Centre

Denham Court Drive

Denham

Uxbridge

Middlesex

UB9 5PG

 

If you want any further information about any of the advertised jobs, please contact Steven Garner on 01895 839 848, or 07720 098787.

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Hidden talents

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15
Feb

We wanted to share a piece of artwork that we discovered on the back of a timesheet of one of our employees – a graffiti-inspired re-working of our logo and the defiant statement: “I Ain’t No Criminal”. At Blue Sky we’re all about creating new identities for people through the dignity of real work, and this piece sums up our mission rather well…

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Blue Sky features in DWP guidance on employing ex-offenders

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3
Feb

Blue Sky is proud to support the DWP’s See Potential campaign, and to inform its work in promoting the business benefits of hiring candidates from disadvantaged groups, including ex-offenders.

Published this week is See Potential’s new employer guide on open recruitment (written in partnership with BITC) which features Blue Sky as an example of good practice. You can download the guidance here: See Potential.

Blue Sky has also featured in videos to support See Potential. Click on the image of Blue Sky empoyee Irvin below to hear his story.

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Blue Sky helps Hillingdon break Green Flag world record

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3
Feb

Blue Sky Services, which employs teams of ex-offenders to deliver grounds maintenance and related environmental services, has played a key part in helping Hillingdon Council to boast the highest number of Green Flag awarded to parks and green spaces in the world, with a staggering 42 scooping the prestigious prize.

Steve Finn, Teams Director for Blue Sky Services said: “I am delighted that Hillingdon Council has won this accolade, testimony to all the hard work of council officers, community and voluntary groups. Blue Sky has played a small but important part in this achievement and I’m proud of all our employees who have contributed, proof that real work pays for ex-offenders and for communities.”

To find out more about the work of Blue Sky Services, contact Steve Finn: steve.finn@blueskydevelopment.co.uk.

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New job opportunities in construction

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1
Dec

Building on our 10-year track record in industries such as grounds maintenance, waste management and distribution, Blue Sky is developing exciting new partnerships in construction. Working with companies such as Powerday, we are offering entry-level employment opportunities for ex-offenders with the potential for further training and career development.

We are actively seeking applications from ex-offenders now and in 2017 – applicants must have a ‘Green Labourer’ CSCS card for these opportunities. (Potential candidates who are currently unemployed can get themselves put onto CSCS courses via their local job centre.)

green_labourer_s_card

To find out more about our vacancies click here.

To apply for vacancies or to be put on our waiting list for jobs click here.

Blue Sky has employed and supported over 1,300 ex-offenders since 2005.

 

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Blue Sky selected for The Big Give

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14
Nov

We’re delighted to let you know that Blue Sky has  been selected to participate in the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2016, the UK’s largest match funding campaign.

Blue Sky is raising money for Employing ex-offenders, bridging the UK skills gap, a project to create real jobs and targeted training programmes for ex-offenders within growth sectors of the economy, giving those leaving prison an opportunity to turn away from crime, and helping to reduce re-offending and its huge social cost while also plugging skills gaps in industries such as construction and distribution.  Full details of the need for the project, aims and impact can be found here.

By donating to our project when the Christmas Challenge goes live (between  12pm on 29th November and 12pm, Friday 2nd December) the value of your gift will be doubled through match funding from a Big Give Charity Champion, a third party philanthropist. We are looking to raise £15,000 in online donations over the period of the Challenge, matched to generate a total of £30,000 to support our work.

If you’d like to support our project then please email Carwyn Gravell, Development Director (carwyn.gravell@blueskydevelopment.co.uk) with the amount you’d like to give. We will then get in touch closer to the time of the Christmas Challenge with details of how to donate online.

We very much hope that you’re able to support our work – more crucial than ever at a time when resources in prison are stretched and morale is at an all-time low – and to offer hope, purpose, and a second chance in life to people like Irvin, pictured below, and many more like him.

“On leaving prison after 8 years, my prospects weren’t good. I thought, ‘Who’s going to employ an ex-offender?’

But then I found Blue Sky and I’ve never looked back.”

Irvine

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Kate’s Blog: Blue Sky’s Theory of Change

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14
Nov

“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.

With thanks

Kate Markey

Managing Director

Blue Sky Development & Regeneration

KateMarkey

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New Venture: Prison Training

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1
Nov

Having a job is known to reduce the likelihood of re-offending by up to 50% yet 75% of prisoners are released to unemployment. Blue Sky has directly employed and supported over 1,200 ex-offenders since 2005, and holds one of the highest scores recorded by the Ministry of Justice for reducing re-offending.

Blue Sky has recently started to deliver training in prisons with the aim of preparing inmates for working with us on the outside. The training is delivered over one or two days and is practical, hands-on and employment-focused. By identifying the potential in individuals, engaging with them whilst they are still inside and supporting them through the gate, Blue Sky enables prisoners to believe in themselves and to start planning for a positive future.

Blue Sky currently delivers training programmes at HMP Belmarsh, HMP Onley, HMP Wormwood Scrubs, HMP Pentonville, HMP/YOI Feltham and HMP Isis. The training to date has been enthusiastically received:

“Fantastic form of help for us … keep it going”

“I would recommend every prisoner to attend this course”

“The introduction has been very very helpful”

“This was very helpful and it will help me to stay away from prison”

hereMalcolm Reilly, Blue Sky Teams Manager and Trainer: “The benefit of training in prisons is the hope it gives to prisoners that there may be an opportunity to work upon release. We also raise awareness with other prisoners who may not be thinking of what they will do when they get out.  The other inmates are in cells looking out of the window, calling out, ‘how do we get on this course?’”

Kate Markey, Managing Director of Blue Sky: “Preparing for a crime-free life on the outside means starting the work-ready journey on the inside. Vocational training helps releasing prisoners see the employment pathway to the outside .”

For the fourth year running, Blue Sky has been selected for ‘The Big Give Christmas Challenge’, a scheme where different charities campaign to raise money from their donors and where funding is matched by third party philanthropists. Blue Sky’s campaign this year supports our training work in prison. To donate to our campaign please visit: https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/charity/view/10574/blue-sky-development-and-regeneration

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Young Blue Sky Friends cross the finish line

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20
Oct

Oliver Jones aged 23 and his younger half-brother Jack Chaplin 21 have completed the 41st TCS Amsterdam Marathon on 15 October.  Both young men pushed their boundaries by trying this new run and managed to raise a large sum of over £12,000 for Blue Sky.

“I definitely hit the ‘runner’s wall’ but we just kept pushing ourselves because we really believe in what Blue Sky does.” Jack

Oliver heard about Blue Sky through a friend who talked about the work to assist ex-offenders to have a second chance in life. After discussing it with Jack both felt they wanted to take on this challenge on behalf of the ex-offenders who struggle to find work.

“It’s really inspirational when individuals like Jack and Oliver give so much of themselves to support a social enterprise like Blue Sky.  This kind of concern and support for the welfare of others is crucial in our work.  Providing jobs for ex-offenders who often face discrimination when seeking employment can be de-moralising. Having individuals share our vision to provide ex-offenders with opportunities is crucial. ” Blue Sky’s MD Kate Markey

Everyone at Blue Sky team would like to congratulate Jack and Oliver on completing the marathon and say thank you for raising funds for the work we do to support ex-offenders into work.  And we would like to thank all our supporters who share Jack and Oliver’s passion and belief in the value of our work.

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