Recycling Lives engineers life-changing skips

Recycling Lives' life-changing skip building programme is proving to be a hit with waste firms.

The social enterprise is manufacturing hundreds of skips by training dozens of men in welding and fabrication work in its prison-based HMP Academies; to rehabilitate offenders as well as support recycling.

In the last year offenders in HMP Altcourse and HMP Wymott have manufactured or repaired skips, containers and cages for use in waste management.

Now these are being used on construction, demolition and domestic sites across the country, having been bought by commercial businesses keen to support Recycling Lives’ rehabilitation work.

Alasdair Jackson, chief executive of Recycling Lives social enterprise, said: "These partners are helping to recycle lives as well as waste. Their buy-in is helping us to rehabilitate men as they are trained in welding and fabrication; vital skills which improve their chances of gaining a good job and not reoffending."

Circle Liverpool Ltd, a waste management company which is a subsidiary of Seddon, is using the skips to service construction sites for contractors and housebuilders.

Steve Pagett, director at Circle, said: “The opportunity for inmates to manufacture these skips helps the development of key manual skills which will be vital to personal and professional success outside of prison. We will continue to purchase skips from Recycling Lives to support this cause, with the money raised being invested back into the scheme for the benefit of future inmates.”

By supporting offenders to develop skills and experience and move into work and stable housing on release, Recycling Lives reduces reoffending rates to less than 5% - national averages suggest up to 67% of offenders end up back in prison.

After working in one of the fabrication HMP Academies, Craig secured work with a construction company as an apprentice on release while John is now working on a waste-to-energy project for a logistics firm.