Helping to turn lives around

Jobs, Friends and Houses, a social enterprise that offers employment and training to ex-offenders and people recovering from addiction.
Jobs, Friends and Houses, a social enterprise that offers employment and training to ex-offenders and people recovering from addiction.
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A ground-breaking social enterprise that helps former drug addicts and ex-criminals turn their lives around is up for a prestigious award.

Jobs, Friends and Houses (JFH) has seen off competition from 300 applicants to be shortlisted in the One To Watch category at the Social Enterprise Awards.

It’s real recognition of what we’re achieving here in Blackpool

Steve Hodgkins

The company, which renovates propertied in Blackpool, employs people with a history of offending, taking drugs or family breakdown while providing support and accommodation, as well training to develop their skills.

Bosses highlighted the programme’s zero per cent re-offending and relapse rate among its 32 team members as proof of a “creative approach to problem solving”, which is one of the criteria in the awards category.

Steve Hodgkins, chief executive and a serving sergeant seconded from Lancashire Police after coming up with the concept for JFH, said: “It’s a great achievement to be short-listed for this award. It’s something we all feel very proud of.

“It’s real recognition of what we’re achieving here in Blackpool and gives strength to what we’re doing.”

The awards recognise organisations for their contributions to society as well as business excellence.

JFH has, in its first 18 months, created 20 full-time jobs with associated training for people in recovery and seen a £950,000 turnover.

Apprentices are given on-the-job training, supplemented by adult apprenticeships at Blackpool and The Fylde College, in careers ranging from plumbing and plastering to health and social care, to ensure team members gain meaningful and sustainable employment.

It is the only Northern
social enterprise to be short-listed in its category. Past winners of the national awards include Divine Chocolate, Belu bottled water and Nigel Kershaw, chief executive of The Big Issue.

The 2015 winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on November 26 at the Underglobe, within the Globe Theatre in Southbank,
London.

The One To Watch category at this year’s Social Enterprise Awards is open to projects that have been running for less than two years.

It rewards initiatives that “can clearly demonstrate the criteria but also articulate their future vision and how they are going to achieve it showing growth in their model”.

Blackpool-based Jobs, Friends and Houses will be judged on:

Its vision for the social enterprise;

Showing a creative approach to problem-solving;

Excellence in impact, design or growth since inception; and

Potential for future success, in the judges’ view.

JFH is one of the six community interest companies to make the cut and feature on the shortlist for the award following a high number of applications.

It faces competition from Accession, Gap Education, Growth Rings, HisBe Food and We Walk The Line.