An innovative partnership enabling people who have served sentences in the criminal justice system to make a fresh start has been renewed for a fourth year.
Alpha Housing has re-appointed social enterprise Outwork to provide grounds maintenance on Alpha’s 30 sites across Northern Ireland until at least mid-2024. Outwork’s workforce is also creating more attractive gardens for Alpha’s 1,000 elderly tenants to enjoy through a range of landscaping projects.
The renewed partnership will enable Outwork to help more people to turn their lives around through transitional employment opportunities.
Established in 2018, Outwork is a grounds maintenance service set up by local charity The Turnaround Project to break new ground for people facing barriers to employment. Using social enterprises, The Turnaround Project provides people with transitional training and employment, strengths-based support, and shared supportive communities.
Alpha Housing is Outwork’s largest client, making a significant contribution in helping The Turnaround Project deliver the following impressive results in 2022-23:
- 8,377 transitional employment hours provided for 33 people;
- Of these 33 people, 15 were in the 18-25 age bracket;
- Six people secured conventional employment; and
- Referrals grew from 39 to 84 – a 115% increase on the prior year, showing growing reach across the justice sector and community.
Alpha Chief Executive Cameron Watt said:
“We started working with Outwork early in 2020 on a year-long trial to improve our sites and we were very impressed with the initial results. We are delighted to be renewing our partnership with the Outwork team, one of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic social enterprises, into 2024. Improving our communal gardens whilst helping give second chances to people in prison and probation is a real win-win – everyone benefits.
“There is increasing scope for public service providers to use their buying power to better support social and environmental change, including in rehabilitating people leaving the justice system. I’m encouraged by the growing focus on social value in public procurement in Northern Ireland and believe public sector clients should use resulting opportunities to enable a big expansion in much-needed transitional employment opportunities.”
For people leaving the justice system, jobs are often hard to find, and difficult to sustain. Transitional employment helps people to overcome the challenges they face in securing long-term work. “Over the last three years, Outwork’s partnership with Alpha has already helped provide nine people with a route back into employment. We’re delighted to be renewing our partnership so we can continue to do more, improving the wellbeing of Alpha’s residents and giving people a second chance to get their lives back on track through employment.
Richard Good, Director, Outwork