Together Social Business Group creates full-time jobs for ex-offenders by employing them to renovate empty properties and build and new homes, in the communities where they live.
Why we do it
There are significant barriers for those leaving custody to finding employment; a criminal record typically makes it unlikely that an employer will take on those recently released. With little prospect of finding paid employment, many quickly get into more trouble and sooner or later return to prison where things often get worse.
Our belief is that meaningful employment is key to offender rehabilitation and recovery. Ultimately, recognising these individuals future potential, not their past, is paramount to helping regain control over their lives.
of our employees go on to take up jobs with other construction firms, as self-employed sub-contractors or to do further education and training.
We have brought together a strong group of experienced and committed people who are passionate about helping those in need in their local communities.
Paul Humphries, CEO
Paul has spent the last 30 years creating and building businesses. His corporate career was spent with Cable & Wireless and Philips in a number of general management, sales, marketing and strategy roles. He was a founder and director of Opta, a new business creation consultancy which was acquired ultimately by a NYSE listed company. At Octopus Investments he was an investment director, working with numerous start-up and early stage companies. Paul is the co-founder of Bright Ideas Trust, the business support charity, which helps 16-30 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds to start their own business. Most recently Paul was Deputy CEO of Street Child a child protection NGO, where he worked extensively in West Africa.
Paul Harrod, Founder & Director
Paul is the founder of The Together Group, and also set up the first project, Bristol Together CIC, in late 2011. Paul was also the co-founder of the homelessness social enterprise Aspire. Paul has also had management experience at the University of Bristol’s Research and Enterprise Division, and has extensive non-executive director experience within a wide range of charities and social enterprises. He is currently a director of the Castle School Education Trust.
Nick Bacon, Director
In 1993 Nick started his own business and over the next ten years Nick and his colleagues built the Zoo Group to become Bristol’s largest marketing services company. In April 2005 The Zoo Group merged with Bray Leino Holdings and Nick became Chief Executive of the group before floating on AIM in 2006. Today The Mission Marketing Group employs nearly seven hundred people and achieved a turnover in excess of £124m in 2013. More recently Nick has invested in a number of Social Enterprises with a particular interest in the rehabilitation of ex-offenders. Nick and his wife Karen have just completed a three year project to build their own home; they are also active members of their local church with a particular heart for outreach to children and young people.
Michael Robson, Director
Michael joined Andrews Estate Agents in 1976 as a Trainee Sales Negotiator. He became Group Chief Executive in 1990. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), Director of the Property Ombudsman, Chairman of the Christian Initiative Trust, and a trustee of Andrews Charitable Trust (ACT). Michael is also a co-founder of the Estate Agency Foundation (EAF), a charity dedicated to helping eliminate the causes of homelessness in the UK. In 2011, Michael was named 'Business Charity Champion' at the prestigious Third Sector Awards, in recognition of his work as Chief Executive of Andrews to harness corporate support for charitable works.
Chris Moulds, Director
Chris is a partner at the Shaftesbury Partnership which inspires and launches social reform ventures which create opportunity and tackle disadvantage. He is Chairman of Franchising Works Ltd and of the Foundation for Social Change and Inclusion (Bulgaria). He is a founder of The Trussell Trust, one of the UKs largest food bank providers. Previously over twenty years as a senior manager in the public sector as Chief Executive of two NHS Trusts; Chief Executive of Police Training for England and Wales (accountable to the Home Secretary); Chairman of Healthwork UK, the first Health Care National Training Organisation – led its formation and was its first Chairman.
How we work
Our employees typically stay with us for 2 years, earn a living wage and receive support and mentoring; they develop new skills; and they gain a fresh vision for their future. We have trained individuals in Plastering, Roofing, Tiling, Kitchen Fitting, Asbestos Removal, Brick Laying, Stone Masonry, Electrical, Painting and Plumbing.
At the end of their time with us we help our employees to find onward employment or assist them to start self-employment. Fortunately the construction industry is very good at employing ex–offenders. Indeed a number of our workers have left us to join firms now owned and run by people with a previous record themselves.
On all projects, both new build activity and renovations, ex-offenders are employed on-site in the construction work. Our experienced project managers work ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with our employees. Slowly but surely we build trust, confront challenges and help these vulnerable people to learn new skills and build their confidence and qualifications.
Together operates in a number of geographical areas, focusing on the needs of local communities. We started in Bristol in 2011 and have expanded to operate in Birmingham and Glasgow. Our aim is to provide opportunities throughout the UK by expanding our regional businesses to meet local needs.
Together started in Bristol in 2011. Since that time it’s employees have developed more than 70 properties in the local community.
Together started in Birmingham in 2013 and has since offered recently released prisoners in the area the opportunity to develop a variety of construction industry skills.
Glasgow Together, our third regional business, started work in 2014. It has so far employed 15 ex-offenders in the development of a number of residential properties.