Providing people with a choice – Bounce Back charity
Bounce Back is a charity and social enterprise focused on the training and employment of people in and leaving prison. We work inside and out with a firm belief that everyone has the ability to change and deserves an opportunity to do so.
I’ve been with Bounce Back for six years, starting as a Trainer before progressing through various roles to where I am now, as the Head of Department. I now manage the entire curriculum for Bounce Back attendees, working with our industry partners to ensure training is in line with current standards. We need to make sure the knowledge imparted is future proofed to ensure future employability of recently released learners, and this can only happen with industry collaboration.
I first joined Bounce Back as I have a background in construction and I wanted to use my skills to teach others. I then went to work in colleges, throughout which time I learnt a lot about how different people absorb knowledge. After seeing the opportunity to work with Bounce Back and understanding how I could use my skills to make a real difference to people’s lives, I applied, got the job and have never looked back.
When I started with Bounce Back there were two training centres – HMP Brixton and HMP Wandsworth. Since then, we’ve opened up several other centres and I have played some part in every single one in mobilising, setting up, filling in as a cover tutor, training staff up and so on. We used Knauf materials which were distributed by Encon Insulation & Nevill Long to help build all of these centres, as well as for teaching learners during the courses.
The early stages of setting up the HMP High Down training centre was a real career highlight for me. We were able to create a family centre so the inmates’ families could come to see what they’re learning, watching them be creative and engaged.
The learners actually helped put the rooms together and decorate them, and seeing them impart their personalities on the project was amazing – both I and the other inmates loved it. That project left a mark on my life.
Bounce Back also works within the community, recognising that recently released prisoners are often marginalised and the right support at the right moment can make a huge difference to the rest of their lives. The community support hub is based in Southwark, London and provides bespoke training as well as more holistic support including a focus on employability skills, CSCS cards, CVs and general employment support.
I’ve got a long-term ambition of increasing the number of training centres and teaching courses, as well as refining the curriculum. For example, the drylining course includes both drylining, and taping and jointing. I feel it’s important for learners to understand that, in a commercial setting, they wouldn’t be doing all of these elements so it’s important to understand the differences.
I want the learners to know that there are options out there. Life is about choices, moreover it’s about making the right choices, but some of these participants have rarely been given a choice. Our aim at Bounce Back is to provide them with a choice, to develop themselves and to pursue a realistic career.
Knauf and our distribution partner Encon Insulation & Nevill Long are enthusiastic supporters of this vibrant organisation and have been working together to provide both products and technical support to the charity since 2015.