The first of my three appointments today was a meeting at Mercers' Hall to discuss the proposal from the Pan Livery Group aimed at reducing reoffending.
The Chairman of the Craft Committee, Chris Causer, and I met with Past Master Mercer, Johnny Robertson, Past Master Musician, Tessa Brewer and Past Master Builders' Merchant, Stephen Turner to discuss the project and how the construction livery companies can help to progress implementation. The group outlined the aim of the project which was to build a programme to help offenders find and sustain work with a strong focus on housing and community integration. There will be a 12 month pilot facilitated through the charity Bounce Back, who are experienced in helping people leaving prison find and stay in work. The aim of the pilot is to engage with 300 individuals and achieve 40 people into sustained employment, with housing provided as necessary. The cost of the project is £320,000. Reoffending costs the UK economy £15 billion a year and the reoffending rate for those given 12 month prison sentences is 64.1%. This project is therefore seen as a useful addition to the strong tradition of philanthropic giving by the Livery.
The project is looking for Livery Companies to contribute in two ways, the first is by making a funding contribution directly, and just as importantly, by offering employment to appropriate candidates as they leave prison. The construction sector is being targeted because this is traditionally an area where ex-offenders find good employment and are most comfortable.
We gave the representatives assurance that the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers would take the matter seriously and do all we can to bring this project to the attention of our Liverymen who own their own building, tiling and other related companies, and outline the benefits both for the offender, and for the company as well. Bounce Back are very happy to talk to individual prospective employers to outline the benefits of the project.
We thanked the three representatives for outlining this worthwhile project and all agreed to keep in touch over the forthcoming months.