Recycling Lives Creates £5.2m Social Value Through Leading Offender Rehabilitation Work

A unique enterprise is delivering one of the most successful offender rehabilitation programmes of its kind in the UK to create social value worth millions of pounds.

Recycling Lives ( )  has reduced reoffending rates, supported homeless men to regain their independence, and delivered meals to community groups; to create a saving to society worth £5.2m in one year alone.

This multi-million pound social value follows Recycling Lives’ biggest year yet for its commercial operations as it enjoyed sales growth of 47% to £46m. The unique organisation uses its successful recycling and waste management business to support and sustain its own charity and social enterprise.

Recycling Lives has now published its annual Social Value figures, showing its financial and social impact from 2016/17:

·         Its HMP Academies programme created social value worth £2.6m by reducing reoffending. Of the 37 offenders it supported to move into meaningful work and stable accommodation on release from prison, 36 were rehabilitated and did not reoffend within one year of release. Compared to the national reoffending rate of around 67%, Recycling Lives’ approach delivers significantly improved rehabilitation results.

·         Its Residential Charity created social value worth £300,000 by supporting homeless men to regain their independence. It supported eight men with histories of homelessness and offending into employment and stable accommodation, to be no longer reliant on the welfare system.

·         Its Food Redistribution Centre created social value worth £2.3m by delivering meals to charitable groups. It delivered 698,000 meals via 106 charitable groups across Lancashire and Cumbria, helping groups save around £7,900 annually in food costs and diverting 293 tonnes of food from landfill in the process.

Each of Recycling Lives’ social value figures are calculated using government metrics – including Cabinet Office findings on the cost of reoffending to the public purse and Food Standards Agency figures on the value of a meal – by a Social Return on Investment practitioner.

Recycling Lives’ impressive financial impact is matched by the significant social impact for individuals, families and communities. It shares these stories in an annual Social Value Report for clients to see how their waste and recycling contracts deliver social impact.

Its 2016/17 Report has been published this month, including stories about:

·         Dean – the father-of-three has regained access to spend time with his children within just months of release from prison, with Recycling Lives’ support. He was offered a full-time role at its Recycling Park on release from prison, after impressing with his determination and work ethic while working in a HMP Academy: “Recycling Lives has helped me in every way – with a job, a home and my children.”

·         Clarke – the father-of-one moved into Recycling Lives residential charity on release from prison. He undertook training and work placements before being offered a role with a national utilities firm which allowed him to move into his own home: “I’ve never been given chances like this before, I’m getting experience and skills. Recycling Lives does so much for people – it’s a special kind of company.”

·         St Catherine’s Hospice – the charity, which provides specialist palliative care in central Lancashire, uses goods from the Food Redistribution Centre to cater for the tastes and dietary requirements of patients for its 19-bed in-patient unit and day therapy unit. Being a member of the Centre means it saves a significant amount on food costs – funds which can then be used elsewhere for the charity: “The food helps us to offer more choice for our patients and assists us in meeting their personal preferences and needs – helping to improve their quality of life.”

Recycling Lives Group Managing Director William Fletcher said: “Recycling Lives is changing the way business is done. We are leading the way in showing that businesses don’t have to choose between commercial success or social return for the communities they serve. We achieve both and are committed to growing our charity programmes in line with our business growth and creating social value equal to or greater than 10% of annual sales.

“We are proving that social value delivers commercial value, by developing a business model that others want to work with for financial value environmental benefit and social impact. Our approach enables clients to meet their CSR agenda by delivering social value relative their contracts.”

Recycling Lives’ delivery of £5.2m social value came in the same year that it enjoyed rapid business growth, doubling its national footprint, growing its staff team by 23% and reporting sales of £46m. Its unique customer offer, of creating social impact relative to each contract it wins, is a winning formula for blue-chip businesses. It has recently won major contracts with Sellafield Ltd, Speedy Hire and British Gas, fuelling its national expansion to open sites in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, the Midlands, Cumbria and Kent in 2017.

Recycling Lives is a top-tier recycler, able to manage all aspects of the recycling process. It processes and recycles scrap metal, scrap cars, waste and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) to increase diversion from landfill and produce high-grade recycled materials from its state-of-the-art fragmentiser.


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