Recycling Lives: Rebuilding Productive Meaningful Lives in the Community

Jeff came to Recycling Lives a few weeks after being released from prison. Previously a successful business owner and family man, he found that several areas of his life had fallen apart in the four years and nine months he’d been away.

The Recycling Lives Resident programme is structured around the principle that a person needs the following securities to set them on the road to transformation:

1)      a place to live,

2)      a steady job,

3)      finances,

4)      and relationships with friends and family

Jeff identified early on that he needed help in meeting these requirements, and so referred himself to Recycling Lives, after spending a couple of weeks sleeping on his daughter’s sofa. The men who Recycling Lives support in our Residential programme are missing most, if not all, of these essential elements. By becoming part of the programme, two of these elements are immediately fulfilled. Residents are provided with comfortable en suite accommodation at our main centre in Preston.

Some Residents have been sleeping on the streets prior to coming to Recycling Lives, or, like Jeff, are one of the “hidden homeless” who have no stable accommodation and sleep on the sofas of friends or family. As part of his induction to Recycling Lives, Jeff was registered with a bank, a doctor, and a dentist. Recycling Lives aim to give Residents a sense of structure and stability that their lives may have been lacking previously.

Jeff’s education and experience as a business owner meant that he didn’t lack the basic skills that many other Residents did. What he did need was breathing space to make the right decisions, and to adjust to life outside of prison. Even small things like handling money or technological developments seemed alien.

With this in mind, Recycling Lives assisted Jeff in putting together a career plan that would help restore his confidence and make the most of his skills. In his work placements, Jeff was treated like an individual rather than an ex-offender, and he was able to build the trust and respect of his customers and colleagues.

Six months into the Residential programme, Jeff was offered the job of Manager at the Recycling Lives Food Distribution Centre. The Centre is part of the Recycling Lives charity and redistributes surplus in date food from the distributors to over 70 charitable organisations, feeding 5000 people each week.

Although Jeff was surprised to be offered the role, he knew that the Recycling Lives staff had got to know him over the past six months, and that we saw beyond his time in prison and identified that he has the required skills and abilities to excel in the role.

Staff and Residents build strong relationships at Recycling lives, providing a support network for those who need it. Knowing they have someone to talk to who understands their situation is invaluable, and allows them to begin to rebuild relationships with friends and family.

No two Residents at Recycling Lives are the same, and we provide support tailored to suit each individual’s needs based on a snapshot gained at the start of the programme, with regular review sessions. Jeff is one of our many success stories; he is currently searching for a flat, and he has full time employment in a role supporting his community.

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