Having never written a blog before I will keep this fairly simple and diary like.
So here it starts and just getting to this point has been a long and frustrating journey. I started teaching barbering in prisons nearly 5 years ago and soon realised the problem exists not in what training and learning can happen in prisons, but what doesn’t happen upon release. Here I see a massive hole in the “through the gate” provision.
We all know that employment and education can greatly reduce the rate of reoffending. However, it won’t do it by itself! There needs to be some support and encouragement when people leave prison or it’s too easy to give up and go back to what’s easy.
Gaining a qualification inside is wonderful and can really help someone’s self esteem but, as with most vocational skills, that is just the beginning of the journey. As a barber you need then to work for at least 6 months in a real shop environment, with real clients before you can say you are fully qualified. This would give you the experience and the reference to seek work anywhere with confidence.
So my aim is to set up a barbershop/teaching academy for young, vulnerable people in the community who are not engaging with education or work and people coming out of prison who need that extra experience before going it alone.
The more experienced will mentor the new ones and it will be a service we can provide for the community that I hope, one day, some of the barbers will want to franchise in their own areas.
First step is complete, I am a Social Enterprise business. This means at least 51% of any money made automatically gets ploughed back into the business. I have registered the name with Companies House and it’s all official.
There has been a lot of excitement and interest in the idea so far. The next step is organising a shop/training centre. I am looking at crowd funding, possibly trying to organise a tv documentary/film to record the process and as much community engagement as I can muster.
Watch this space…..