Prisoners given a chance to turn over a new leaf

Fusion21 has teamed up with North West-based facilities management company, Vivark, to pilot an innovative new scheme which provides invaluable work experience for Liverpool offenders looking to turn their lives around.

Under the New Leaf project, prisoners develop the skills needed to undertake work in a professional workshop environment, concentrating particularly on the production of high quality, durable fence panels and gates. 

This collaborative partnership sees Vivark work with social enterprise Fusion21 as part of Merseyside prison HMP Altcourse’s ‘Break the Cycle’ scheme, an element of a wider initiative to change the way in which prisoners serve their sentences.

Under such schemes, select prisoners work for up to 40 hours a week in order to gain viable work experience to improve the chance of employment on release and reduce the risk of reoffending. In this case, inmates gain quality facilities management training and mentoring while they work.

Executive director at Vivark, Tony Cahill, said: “As a facilities management and refurbishment company operating with a social purpose, we aim to offer life changing opportunities for people who want to develop a future career either in the facilities management sector or its supply chain.

“In manufacturing these panels, the people involved are experiencing a ‘real life’ working environment, complete  with the same deadlines and high standards any employee would be expected to work to. Furthermore, Vivark is able to source quality products to use across its landscaping and fencing contracts which offer clients an even better service.”

The high quality, long lasting fence panels and gates will be available for businesses to purchase from Vivark when New Leaf launches its product range in the summer of 2015.