Recycling Lives' prison partnership wins award

Recycling Lives' partnership using recycling to rehabilitate offenders has been recognised with a prestigious national award.

We have developed a partnership with national business Amey and men’s prison HMP Dovegate to rehabilitate offenders by employing them to recycle waste TVs.

Now the partnership has been recognised with the Partnership Excellence Award (Public/Private Sector) at the National Recycling Awards (NRA) on June 27. The win is our third NRA, having twice been named Team of the Year in 2017 and 2018.

We are unique in combining a business and social enterprise to offer recycling services and programmes to rehabilitate offenders, support the homeless and redistribute food. Our HMP Academy programme is operational across 11 prisons, employing offenders in workshops to undertake recycling or fabrication work and support their rehabilitation. Participants are supported to develop skills and confidence and secure work and housing upon release – less than 5% of those supported reoffend.

In 2018, the workshop in the Category C men’s prison, run by Serco, processed 939 tonnes of televisions from household waste recycling centres managed by Amey. It achieved a 99.8% recycle rate for metals, glass, plastics, panels and circuit boards.

The HMP Dovegate Academy has supported men like Michael and Gavin to change their lives for the better. Michael now has chance to work for our recycling site in Kent, his home county, on release from prison while Gavin has had intensive support from Recycling Lives’ team to address mental health problems.

Anthony Sharkey, Chief Operating Officer of Recycling Lives, said: “Winning this award is the cherry on top of an excellent partnership that allows us to really make a difference. Meaningful work is critical to improving an offender’s chance of rehabilitation, so we are grateful to Amey and Serco for buying into our model and working with us to make it happen.”

Emily Davies, Head of Social Impact for Amey, said: “I’m delighted the fantastic work we’ve been delivering with Recycling Lives has been recognised. I’m proud the work  is having positive impacts on improving offender’s rehabilitation as well as reducing the amount of household items ending up in landfill sites.”