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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Social business’ commitment to changing lives worth millions

Recycling Lives prides itself on being more than just a business. The multi-million-pound recycling firm also runs charitable activities to tackle food poverty and reduce reoffending. Now it has published a report showing how in one year alone it created £4.1m in social value.

A unique business using ‘recycling partnerships to change lives’ has created social impact worth millions of pounds.

Recycling Lives uses its commercial waste management and recycling operations to support and sustain its own charity, tackling food poverty and reducing reoffending.

It has this month published its Social Value Report, demonstrating the tangible social impact of its work which created a £4.1m saving to society.

It has created the multi-million pound saving by managing a highly successful food redistribution centre, which supports charitable organisations to feed disadvantaged groups, and an offender training and employment programme.

This impressive figure is on top of the environmental excellence, jobs created and training provided by the business, in the same year it achieved another leap in sales and profit.

Founded in Preston, with sites across the North and Midlands, the double Queen’s Award-winning organisation now has ambitious plans to continue to create social value equal to or greater than 10% of its annual sales.

Managing director Will Fletcher said: “We are committed to creating real social impact and value to society through our commercial and charitable activities; to be more than just a business.

“This Social Value Report doesn’t just focus on ‘what’ we do, but ‘why’ we do it – to change lives for the better.

“We are immensely proud to be able to do the work we do, whether that is putting food on the table for families facing food poverty or offering opportunities to people with histories of offending.  We hope our work will inspire others to look at how they can use their business to benefit communities by working in partnership with us.

“Recycling Lives is an example of a purpose investor – investing in individuals and communities to create social value alongside financial value and return.”

Recycling Lives offers total waste management solutions to clients. Managing all major waste types and working with a wide range of businesses, it is committed to 100% diversion from landfill. Sales generated commercially directly support and sustain its charitable activities, allowing clients to demonstrate CSR from their contracts.

The organisation has three core charity programmes:

Recycling Lives’ Food Redistribution Centre – the Lancashire and Cumbria arm of charity FareShare – bridges the gap between food suppliers and charitable organisations.  Taking surplus food from the former to distribute to the latter, it tackles food poverty and supports groups working with stretched resources.

The Centre served 531,000 meals in its first year, 2015/16, delivering 10,000 meals a week via its network of 85 members, which includes homeless shelters, breakfast clubs and food banks.

This work created social value of £1.7m, calculated from the annual saving for members accessing the food and the value of meals served.

Recycling Lives’ HMP Academies create opportunities for men and women in prison to ‘earn and learn’, in order to significantly reduce their risk of reoffending. Undertaking recycling processes in workshops in seven prisons across the country, offenders develop life and work skills and are supported to secure employment and accommodation upon release.

During 2015/16 there were 38 participants, of which 37 were successfully rehabilitated and did not re-offend. This remarkable figure is all the more impressive when considered alongside national figures and findings on reoffending rates which show that for every 100 individuals released from prison, 67 will reoffend.

The Recycling Lives HMP Academies created social value of £2.4m in one year alone, based on the annual saving to the taxpayer by an individual desisting from offending and staying out of the criminal justice and welfare systems.

The organisation also has a residential charity from which men facing homelessness, who often have histories of offending, unemployment or mental health problems, access a structured Six-Stage programme to regain their independence through skills training, work placements and holistic support.

Each of Recycling Lives social value figures have been calculated using government metrics, including from the Food Standards Agency and Cabinet Office.



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