When we say that Handmade Alliance is a social enterprise which reduces reoffending rates by working with prisoners and ex-prisoners many people are often surprised – is sewing an obvious way to do this?
THE ANSWER is that while it may not be very obvious, it is very effective. Across the UK and particularly in London there is a shortage of skilled sewing machinists and hand sewers needed by designers, and a lack of employment opportunities for ex-prisoners.
FOR DESIGNERS wanting small-batch production either because they are starting out (overseas production only makes sense at scale) or they want a one-off high-quality range our workshop in Kings Cross, London provides a space where they can come into the workshop and speak directly with our team of seamstresses and seamsters.
TRAINING AND EDUCATION are often cited as crucial factors in successful rehabilitation but given the difficulties of finding employment as an ex-prisoner even more crucial is the ability to find gainful employment, with the stability and self-respect that this brings. By working as a social enterprise which provides training and qualifications in sewing skills, we offer a launch pad for ex-prisoners to escape the all too frequent cycle of reoffending.
EX-PRISONERS working with designers to meet their sewing needs is a perfect match of answering a market opportunity with a ethical answer that betters society as a whole: a central part of what it is to be a social enterprise.