Amey Giving

Induction packs creating jobs for ex-offenders

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Oct 2020

Nathan is a homeless person who is also a struggling entrepreneur. He wants to make a difference by bringing families together during these unprecedented times of COVID-19 through the Food App he is working on.

“Working with Ethstat and being given well-paid employment and a friendly team who value me means everything to me,” says Nathan. 

Nathan says that he is massively grateful for the opportunity Amey has given him and the work they are sponsoring in the community. Whatever the future holds, Nathan is focused on using his talent and energy to bring people together.

I want to prove to people that I may be homeless, but I have the fire and
passion to succeed in life and business. Shaking off the label of ex-offender is
very important to me. I am worth so much more.

Behind the mask we're ending homelessness

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June  2020

Charlotte Harvey and Emily Davies from Amey meet David, one of the envelope packers. Photo by Andrew Hamilton Thomas

What's in my pack?

If you are a member of staff at Amey, you will have received an envelope in the post. That envelope is quite exceptional.  Unlike most padded envelopes it is entirely plastic-free making it recycled and easily recyclable.  Before you open it, you will see that the letter has not been franked; instead, a stamp was bought from a local post office supporting the local sub-postmaster. 

This is what your postmaster looks like when you ask for 16,000 stamps.

When you break the seal, you will find a letter from your Chief Executive, Amanda Fisher, a Wellbeing Guide, guidance on how to put on and remove your face covering safely, a covering in what seems like a plastic slip and a compliments slip from us telling the story of the person that packed your letter.  The paper on which the information is printed is the lowest carbon paper available in the UK today.  It was printed by the only company to be trusted by Greenpeace, The Carbon Trust and Friends of the Earth. 

When you feel the plastic around the covering, it might feel a little different.  That’s because it isn’t a standard vinyl; instead, it is a bioplastic that will degrade in less than three months in dark wet conditions. 

The covering is different, as well. It was made, right here in the UK by Saville Row Taylors, who usually make suits for the movie industry. You will have seen their work on Daniel Craig in the James Bond movies or on Peaky Blinders. The material is different too, as Q would have wanted; the mask is three-layer cotton for comfort and breathability, covered with a  Nanotech layer that provides filtration and water resistance. It is durable and will wash 100 times. 

As for how the letter was packed and who packed it? Well, that’s a whole story in itself.  

Meet the packers

Not everyone in the project wanted to share their stories, and there is so much more to each of them than a few words can describe but here are some of the people that Amey helped in the course of this project.  These are the people that packed your envelopes. 

 Lauren, is a swimming instructor and content creator on YouTube. COVID-19 meant that Lauren had to move back in with her mum, as she couldn’t afford her house share.  Lauren suffers from mental health issues and like so many, she has been feeling hopeless. ‘I have all the time on my hands and I am trying to find work that benefits the community to keep my mind active. This opportunity has made me feel more positive.’ 

Louise is an ex-offender who has jumped leaps and bounds since arriving at Evolve and especially since working with the Peer Circles project. She is passionate about animals and nails and will be studying to complete her nail technician qualification after lockdown. She is currently on Evolve’s Entrepreneurship Program to develop her ideas and gain support to start her own nail business. She is a mother of two and is committed to leading a more fulfilling and positive life for herself and her family.

 

Nathan is an ex-offender and who has made massive strides in the last 12 months to turn his life around. After completing Evolve’s Entrepreneurship Program and joining the Peer Circles project, he has begun developing an app to help people source, buy and cook with local fresh ingredients using easily accessible recipes on his app. He is also developing a console game that is based on the cultural history of Rastafarian’s. He is a dedicated father and family man pursuing his dreams and achieving his goals.

 

Kate is currently homeless. This work opportunity has come at just the right time for Kate considering the current climate and her on-going circumstances. Kate has a passion for the arts and in the future hopes to be able to set up her own art photography business.

David has turned his life around in the last 2 years. David has struggled with poor mental health and addiction. After working with Evolve’s Peer Circles project, he is now living independently, working part time, and has become a father to a beautiful little girl. He is dedicated to looking after and providing for his family. David gives back to his community through his church and supporting local causes.

Ricardo. He is a regular client at Croydon Nightwatch. He became homeless last year when hisemployer didn’t pay him. ‘Becoming homeless is one of the worst things that can happen to someone. I had always paid my own way and suddenly I felt like I had lost everything including my dignity.  I don’t want to be reliant on other people’s support, I want to be the one helping others. This is my main motivation for improving myself and making my life better.’   Ricardo wants a full time permanent job so he can transform his life.  He is one of Amey’s Beam Sponsorships.

Jayden has struggled to get work since his seasonal job at Costco ended. Jayden has struggled with mental health over the past couple of years. ‘This lockdown isolation has slowed down my progress in achieving my goals. I feel like I’d benefit from this opportunity as it would allow me to interact with others, give me a sense of self-worth and help regain my confidence in both myself and the workplace. I genuinely feel like this could give me the boost and motivation needed to reassess and focus on future life goals.’

Ellie is a PE coach, who was made unemployed due to COVID-19. The last couple of years have been a struggle for Ellie due to a big change in her life. Ellie had been living with her Grandparents, but due to the pandemic Ellie moved in with her Aunt. ‘The last 3 months have been a struggle. Not only the money, but getting out and conversing with others. This is going to help me massively.

 

Joseph has been out of work since last Christmas. Joseph wants to work in IT and become a web developer. He is looking for an opportunity to be placed with a company where he can work his way up. With COVID-19, Joseph has found it harder than ever to find work. His sister is part of Team Ethstat and as we grow, we hope to find work for Joseph to help him on his life’s journey.

When Amey came to Croydon

This project would not have been possible without the following people.

It takes a lot of work to put together a project where every penny goes toward making a difference. Ethical Stationery is proud to have been working with a large and diverse group of social and charitable enterprises.  Our Ethical family, Yasmin, Bruce, Sarah, Sasha and Drew would like to give thanks, and deepest gratitude goes to:

Lives not Knives: The incredible charity started 13 years ago by the then 14-year-old Eliza Rebeiro to turn pre-teens away from gang, and knife culture. LNK recommended some vulnerable young people to come and spend a few days with us in a positive team environment packing your letters and getting positive forward momentum.

Evolve Housing. More than just a housing association Evolve run an entrepreneurship programme that helps rebuild the lives of ex-offenders and drug addicts. Evolve nominated three of the packers to come to earn a wage and spend some time with other social entrepreneurs and us to mentor them.

 NightwatchThe rough sleeping charity that feeds the homeless of South London nominated a number of the packers to come and work with us. We hope that some of them may become your colleagues in days to come. 

OWRFC: The RFU recognises old Whitgiftian Rugby Club as the most ethnically and economically diverse Rugby club in the country and quite possibly the world. More than a sports club Old Whits is a genuine community club with a kitchen run by Lynne Gillingham and Suzanne Piscina that provides meals for the old and the homeless as well as a community refuge for all ages. Old Whits provided the venue and support for the packers.  

Vital Meals supplied the catering for both days. Vital Meals is a non-profit venture set up in response to the global Corona Virus pandemic. Run by Ayesha Pakravan-Ovey, the head chef & founder of The Plattery. They are cooking & delivering free nutritious meals to anyone unable to feed themselves during this difficult time. 

Safety is the Key provided detailed Health and Safety Support to allow the event to happen in the first place. Shabbir at SITK is quite possibly the most fun health and safety advisor on the planet and managed to keep us safe with incredible knowledge, grace and panache. 

The Recycling Centre to Noordin and Luca  who worked hard to ensure all the items we needed leading up to the event were delivered, and for helping us with the 300 plus postal bags we needed to transport safely.

Deesha Gangully who volunteered her time and donated her wages for the two days to the vulnerable, so that they would receive more. Deesha is a fantastic young woman and a credit to Warwick University. ‘ I am passionate about sustainable development and hope someday to work for a social enterprise that has significant social and environmental impact, just like Ethstat does. Now more than ever, working together as a community is imperative and I am proud to be contributing to this fantastic project, that is going to help the UK become both safer, and greener!’

David Shorto our friend from Greenpeace, print consultant and paper guru.  David identified the best printers we could use and gave us access to them.

Deesha Gangully and Shabbir waived their fees to allow us to pay the packers who worked across the two days £250 instead of £100 a day.  A sum that could make a significant difference for many of the workers.  

Great personal thanks also go to, The Simon family who alongside Tiffany turned up and refused to leave.  Amy Atkinson, who volunteered, brought her lovely boys Morgan and Elias as well as birthday cakes for Ricardo, Suzanne Piscina, Lynne Gillingham, Mark, Fergus and the entire Endersby clan who ensured that the venue was open and available for us all. Shabbir Halai owner and founder of Safety is the Key can never be thanked enough for all he does for the Ethical family. Sarah Jones MP, for her passion and commitment to Croydon and sharing our goal to eradicating homelessness. Humayun Kabir, The Mayor of Croydon for his positive energy and support with all that we do. His heart for changing the lives of our local residents shines through. Amey has some of the best staff we have ever met, but this project would not have been possible without the patience and encouragement of Emily Davies, Richard Walsham, John Cully, Mike Ashford and so many others. 

Last, but by no means least, we’d like to thank Dean Mayes. – It was Dean that recognised our vision and introduced us to the Amey team, and without him, none of this would have been possible. 

Thank you for this opportunity. We have created so much good and touched many lives. We look forward to continuing our work with you and helping to give back. Together, we will be the change. There will be further edits and footage added so please stay tuned.

 Together, we are Ethical.