CleanStart celebrates success of project which 'transforms lives'

CleanStart celebrates success of project which 'transforms lives'

A 150% social return on investment is just one of the successes being celebrated by Manchester-based social enterprise CleanStart, which works with ex-offenders to help them to secure employment.

Trafford Housing Trust shared details of its plans to grow CleanStart at a special dinner attended by over 100 dignitaries drawn from across the private and public sectors.

Hosted at Styal Prison’s Clink restaurant in Cheshire, guests heard from CleanStart’s founder Deborah Elgar about what the project had achieved so far, how it had transformed the lives of many of its participants, and the exciting plans that lay ahead.

Deborah also introduced a selection of short films featuring true-life stories of some of the people which the CleanStart scheme has already helped.  

Also speaking was Hazel Blears, ex-MP for Salford and Eccles and former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Ms Blears publically praised CleanStart’s work last year after it was cited as an example of best practice in a government report on the impact of the Social Value Act. She talked about how she had helped drive the Social Value Act through Parliament, and the importance of businesses including the principles of social enterprise in their business model.

Nick Temple, deputy chief executive of Social Enterprise UK gave the first speech of the day and explained how his organisation opens up corporate supply chains to businesses such as CleanStart, and how the service is a shining example of a social enterprise providing its community with a much needed service while helping to immeasurably improve the lives of its employees.

Other key facts about CleanStart, which were shared with guests at the dinner, included:

  • In 2015 a Greater Manchester study for The Home Office calculated that the CleanStart initiative generated estimated savings of around £10m through less time and manpower being spent by the police on the beat, and in the courts, dealing with re-offenders
  • For every £1.00 invested in CleanStart there is a social return on investment (SORI) of over 150%
  • 71% of CleanStart participants have gone on to secure further employment (national average for offenders without employment upon release from prison is over 70%)
  • 93% of CleanStart participants have not re-offended (national average for re-offending within one year is 45%)
  • CleanStart has had not a single complaint in the last five years regarding staff behaviour, attitudes or theft 
  • CleanStart’s recycling and up-cycling business has helped prevent nearly 100 tonnes of furniture and appliances going to landfill in the last two years 
  • All CleanStart ground maintenance staff work to national standards set by the British Association of Landscape Industries
    • Hazel Blears said: “It’s not that often you find a mainstream organisation that has imagination and is prepared to take risks while also having a deep commitment to changing lives – but Trafford Housing Trust has proven with CleanStart that it has all these qualities.”

      Jim Battle added: “Greater Manchester can become a beacon for change in reducing reoffending and rehabilitating ex-offenders. Partnership working is key to the devolution agenda, bringing together local councils, education sector, housing providers, probation and others to lead the way in transforming justice and rehabilitation services.”