“At Handmade Alliance, we manufacture textiles products for British designers with a team that includes serving prisoners (on day release) and ex-prisoners. We make products for designers that normally have to find producers overseas, so we are creating jobs in the UK.
Within the business itself, we offer vocational training and give practical and emotional support for ex-prisoners to help them reintegrate back into society and avoid re-offending.
In the past 18 months we delivered a textiles training programme with HMPS Brixton and the prisoners we trained were the first in the UK to obtain City & Guilds qualifications within a working business whilst on day release. We then give further ‘professional training’ to get people up to industry standard- so that people can work in textiles and garment manufacturing, where there is a skills shortage amongst machinists.
Some more things to be proud of:
- our outreach programme engaged with a further 250 prisoners across the London resettlement prisons
- our participants produced over 1,000 textiles products for UK-based designer-makers
- we recycled over 30kg of scrap fabric.”
We were honoured to receive awards in 2014 from the RSA and from the School for Social Enterprise, and Handmade Alliance was also shortlisted for the Business in the Community Small Business of the Year Award – the first ever prison enterprise to be shortlisted for a national business award.
-Guardian extract from interview with Handmade Alliance