Investing in job creation for ex-offenders

Investing in job creation for ex-offenders

News (UK)

This week Triodos Bank, the leading European sustainable bank, announced that it is working with Midlands Together to raise £3m through a five year bond.

Midlands Together plans to create significant employment opportunities in the construction industry for ex-offenders, as work is the most effective way to cut re-offending rates. According to the 2010 National Audit Office report Managing Offenders on Short Custodial Sentences’, a staggering 58.2% of short-term offenders re-offend within 12 months at an estimated annualcost of £9.5 - £13 billion to the UK economy.

Midlands Together plans to achieve this through a commercially sustainable business model of buying empty and sub-standard homes and working with social enterprise partners to engage ex-offenders in the repair, refurbishment and restoration. Once the properties are fully restored they will then be sold and the original capital, plus any profits, re-invested back into the business to finance further property purchases and further job creation.

In so doing, offenders are equipped with the confidence, training and paid experience required to secure on-going employment in the sector.

Midlands Together is seeking to raise £3 million to enable it to buy, refurbish and sell approximately 15 properties a year and, through a constant recycling of the capital, invest over £2 million into the wages, training and mentoring of 100-150 ex-offenders over the five year life of the bond.

Midlands Together is the roll-out of the award winning social enterprise Bristol Together (Social Enterprise Awards 2012).  Bristol Together, founded and managed by Paul Harrod, has been fully trading for 18 months, buying and renovating seven properties and employing approximately 35 clients – only one of whom is known to have re-offended.

Midlands Together is issuing a £3 million five year bond offering investors an annual fixed return of 4% or 6% (depending on the instrument they elect) secured against the company’s assets –including its freehold property portfolio. In addition, availability of Community Investment Tax Relief (CITR) can increase annual fixed gross returns to 12.5% for corporate investors and 15.1% for highest rate (45%) taxpayers.

The availability of CITR is dependent on an investor’s own circumstances, current tax legislation and HMRC practice as well as Midlands Together’s ability to manage its operations in compliance with the CITR regulations. Like all investments of this type, capital invested in the Midlands Together bond is at risk, meaning an investor might not get back the full amount invested. It is also illiquid as the bonds do not trade on a recognised investment exchange so investors cannot access their capital during the life of the bond.

Richard Nicol, CEO of Midlands Together, said: The Midlands Together model offers an alternative to hopelessness, removes barriers to employment, brings empty houses back into good use and will result in the reduction of crime and the damage it does to community and its cost to society.”

Dan Hird, head of Corporate Finance at Triodos Bank, commented: “We are pleased to be instrumental in the roll out of the Together model to the Midlands and confident the high calibre management team and board will make a success of it. We believe the investment will appeal to charitable trusts, housing associations, corporates and other sophisticated investors who want to be part of the solution to breaking the cycle of re-offending in a sustainable manner.”

Nick Bacon chair of Midlands Together and investor in the bond added: “I am delighted to be part of the Together expansion. Midlands Together offers a unique social investment opportunity by giving ex-offenders the training, skills and employment they need to help turn their lives around, through a sustainable commercial business model that can pay investors a return on their capital.”

For general enquiries, please contact Huw Thomas on 0117 980 9593. 

  • Social investment
  • UK