Impetus Trust invests £400,000 in breaking prisoner reoffending cycle
UK venture philanthropy pioneer Impetus Trust is to invest £400,000 in Blue Sky social enterprise which runs schemes to reduce prisoner reoffending rates, estimated to cost the UK £12bn each year.
The unrestricted funding, plus management support and specialist expertise, will go to Blue Sky Development & Regeneration over the next four years. Blue Sky will use it to expand schemes that employ ex-offenders for a six-month spell in grounds maintenance and related areas and then helps them to find a permanent job. It works in a number of locations around England including Manchester, Bristol and London.
Ex-prisoners who work on a Blue Sky project have a reoffending rate 75% below the national average and of those who complete a six-month contract, 46% go on to sustainable employment.
Impetus, which receives financial support from individual philanthropists, businesses, and trusts and foundations, has been working for a year with Blue Sky on its expansion plans. This money comes from the Impetus for London Initiative which was launched last year to alleviate poverty in Greater London.
Daniela Barone Soares, chief executive of Impetus, said, “Breaking the cycle of reoffending is undoubtedly a challenging task. This is all the more reason why we must not shy away from it. Instead, we need to support innovative charities and social enterprises, which have proven that reoffending can be reduced. Blue Sky has shown that by tackling the root causes of reoffending – such as lack of skills and employability – real progress can be made.”
Mick May, chief executive of Blue Sky, said, “Blue Sky is absolutely over the moon about Impetus’ continued support. The funding will be invaluable, but we also take great pride in the vote of confidence and the future working relationship that comes with it. It is nothing less than the truth to state that we would not be where we are today without Impetus and the support of its staff and pro bono experts."
Blue Sky takes its name from Oscar Wilde’s poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol:
I never saw a man who looked with such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue which prisoners call the sky.