By Rozie Skinner

An exciting year ahead for A Fairer Chance

This has been a challenging year for A Fairer Chance. Like other organisations operating in this area we have been affected by reductions in funding opportunities.

We are now looking forward to a great 2017 with funding in place to focus on what we are very best at. That is reducing re-offending by helping, people with convictions, secure sustainable employment whilst helping employers fill their skills and labour shortages

On behalf of our board we would like to extend a warm welcome to Wendy Cranmer, Lendlease, and Kay Horne, Network Rail, who are joining our advisory board. They bring their particular expertise in training and employment matters, in Construction and Transport, to our business.

Tapan Baidya, who co-founded A Fairer Chance, will now be moving on. He has been with the business for five years and is now looking to develop new opportunities and employment initiatives in the criminal justice system. However, Tapan will not be severing his links with our social enterprise and we are pleased to say he will be re-joining the Board as a non-executive director in the New Year.


A Fairer Chance continues to develop work with women offenders, both in custody and in the community. We are delighted to have supported two young women secure careers in transport and engineering. One talented graduate now works in project management and a second young woman as an advanced level apprentice, with an International infrastructure contractor. There are many reasons why we cannot always publish full details of beneficiaries and employers though we hope to be able to publish these case studies in full in the New Year.

We are working with TFL and the Transport Museum to attract more women to this industry. We are looking for young women (with convictions), young carers, care leavers and other NEETS, for a  unique, enthusing and preparation course for people looking for a career. Open to all young people but women are underrepresented in transport and engineering so we are keen to promote

If you would like to find out more please email linda@afairerchance and head your email Transport Museum

Working with a retail partner we have nurtured a really productive relationship between HMP East Sutton Park and local stores. This has seen eight women employed on ROTL this year. Those women who have released have all been offered a job near their home and one of the women has been trained up to supervisor. This is a model that really improves the life chances for these women as they leave custody with great self-esteem, money for a rent deposit and a real job!

We were so proud of our two young women who completed the last ever Jamie Oliver FIFTEEN programme. Both young women worked extremely hard to complete the year and we know they will both go on to do amazing things. We are particularly proud of Sarah who was recognised with a special award for the many challenges she overcame on the way. Sarah is now working in a prestigious city restaurant.

We recently took part in an Enterprise Day, with Mitie Foundation, at HMP Downview. We have some local, paid ROTL opportunities to roll out in the New Year.


Working in the Men’s estate

We returned to HMP Pentonville last week to support employment activity in what are really very difficult conditions and will be extending this work in the New Year. We continue to use The Clink in HMP Brixton to show potential employers just what can be achieved when quality training and rehabilitation is in place. We have worked with a number of prisoners through the gates there and arranged employment for two inmates on ROTL.

We are delighted to announce that we are delivery partners, on a CITB contract, funded by the Apprenticeship Levy. This will be delivered by Beonsite/Lendlease and will again enable us to work across the prison estate. We will be identifying people interested in construction work, ranging from operatives and traffic marshals to document handlers and surveyors.  The initiative is to address the skills shortages across the country and provide both practical training and mentoring support. More information on this will be provided in the New Year.


Finally, A Fairer Chance is recruiting. We are looking for someone to join the team in the New Year as a case worker/job broker.

Full details will be available on Clinks website. If you would like further information please email :

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at A Fairer Chance.

A Fairer Chance wins award at City Hall

Last month we announced that we had been nominated by Cleshar Contract Services for one of the Mayor’s Fund for London Employment Awards 2015. The evening of Tuesday 12th March saw our Directors Maggie and Tapan, Office Manager Linda, Cleshar’s Simon Harrison and myself at City Hall meeting some of the great and the good of youth employment in London.  During the ceremony, the efforts of many organisations and individuals carrying out inspiring work in youth employment were recognised. To our absolute delight we were awarded Pre-Employment Training & Job Brokerage Provider of the Year!

Two fantastic organisations were also shortlisted for this award: Care Trade Charitable Trust, an organisation promoting opportunities for young people with autistic spectrum conditions and last year’s winner, MiddletonMurray, a recruitment and apprenticeship specialist working with NEETs. We had a great evening meeting representatives from both these organisations, and many more besides, devoted to bringing hope and real opportunities to London’s youth. We’ve come away even more determined than ever to do everything within our power to successfully bring together committed, conscientious employers with individuals deserving a fairer chance.

Read more to find out about the finalists and shortlisted organisations and individuals, and also more about the award ceremony and members of the award panel.

Finally we would like to reiterate our thanks to Cleshar Contract Services. Not only did they nominate us for this award but they continue to have faith in us, and more importantly, in the young people they employ. Like all our wonderful employers, they are changing lives in countless ways when they look beyond stereotypes and perceived risks, and give a young Londoner an apprenticeship or job.

A Fairer Chance Operations Director Maggie Walsh, awarded MBE

Today is a remarkable day for A Fairer Chance, as our Operations Director Maggie Walsh MBE will be officially awarded her Member of the Order of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace this morning.

Maggie appeared on the honours list published on the Queen’s official birthday last June, for services to the Employment of Ex-Offenders. The ceremony, known as an Investiture, is likely to take place in the Ballroom, and around 120 people, including Maggie, will receive their Order, decoration or medals from HM The Queen, HRH The Prince of Wales or HRH The Duke of Cambridge.

We asked her earlier in the week for her thoughts on her fantastic achievement:

Interviewer: When did you first hear about being awarded the MBE?

Maggie: I got the letter in April last year, and I was very surprised when this padded envelope came through the door, because getting this honour was not on my radar!

I: What does it mean to you to have been awarded this MBE?

M: I’d be lying if I said that personally I wasn’t really chuffed. I think we all thrive on a bit of acknowledgement, but for me this is so much about the work we do at A Fairer Chance; the work we did at the Department of Work and Pensions before, but absolutely about our work.

I: What do you think being honoured in this way will mean to A Fairer Chance?

M: Well, it’s already raised our profile. It’s quite interesting, I received a letter from Iain Duncan Smith MP at one end, and at the other end, quite a lot of companies who knew of us, or who we know of, took the opportunity to get in touch, congratulate me, and to meet us. Yes, I think it’s done us a lot of good.

I: What will you be doing to celebrate?

M: On the day (Friday the 13th! Only I could get my invitation for that day), I’m having a private lunch with my immediate family and a couple of my really supportive employers who have really set us on our way. On the following day I’m having a vintage tea party for all the friends, family, employers and beneficiaries we’ve worked with over the last four years, with the odd glass of sparkly as the afternoon goes on!

All of us at A Fairer Chance would like to say a huge congratulations to Maggie for this acknowledgement for all her fantastic work.

A Fairer Chance shortlisted for Mayor’s Fund for London Awards 2015

A Fairer Chance has been nominated for an award! We are all over the moon and delighted today as we received confirmation this morning that we have been shortlisted for the Mayor’s Fund for London Awards 2015 – Employment for Young Londoners.

Cleshar Contract Services nominated A Fairer Chance for the Pre-employment Training and Job Brokerage Award, detailing our work presenting employers with a sound business case for employing young Londoners with convictions or who are not in education, employment or training (NEET), and the committed pre-employment support we offer young people, to turn lives around through employment.

In April 2013 we placed our first young candidate into a role within the transport sector, and have continued since to steadily find employment and apprenticeship opportunities, with 34 young Londoners placed into roles across five transport companies to date.

Given that we work with some of the most marginalised young Londoners, it means the world to us to have been shortlisted for this award. This is an opportunity to bring our business model, successes and hard work to the public eye and can only help us to grow stronger and more determined to continue to do what we can to prepare people for work and link them up to good jobs with decent employers, where they can gain skills on the way to bring about lasting change in their lives.

We would like to express our huge appreciation to Simon Harrison and his colleagues at Cleshar, not only for their nomination, but for their faith in us and the young people they employ through A Fairer Chance.

We now eagerly await the Awards Ceremony at City Hall on 12 March 2015. Read more about the event and see who have been nominated for the seven awards on the Mayor’s Fund for London website.

Merry Christmas

As 2014 draws to an end we would like to take this opportunity to wish all our employers, partners and beneficiaries a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

We have had a fantastic year at A Fairer Chance and are looking forward to 2015. We already have a number of exciting events and projects lined up so keep checking the website for news and updates.

We would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the great work we have delivered through the year:

  • Over 100 people placed with our leading retailer, Sainsbury’s. Many have gone into skilled roles including bakery, fishmongery and butchery. In November we placed the first person directly into a store management role.
  • Worked with Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Charlton Athletic and Arsenal in the Community to welcome local people into these great organisations. Collaborated on job preparation and motivational workshops and helped over thirty people directly secure employment.
  • Working with DWP and Waltham Forest council we have helped over 30 residents including people with convictions and care leavers secure work.
  • With our partners, Working Links, we have delivered Employment Events in the London prisons resulting in both ROTL offers and jobs on release.
  • We have been recognised by TFL Supplies and skills team as organisation of choice to prepare and place young people into paid work and apprenticeships across rail, highways and business development.
  • Supported two young prisoners apply to BBC Traineeship on the strength of the skills and training they had received through Prison Radio . One is now employed by the BBC and the other working for a major Arts Centre in London.
  • Working with Lendlease through BeOnsite we have supported both serving prisoners and people in the community into paid work on The Elephant and Castle development. This has included two exceptional men who have secured management jobs with contractors on the supply chain.
  • Run employment events and other activities in Kent and Sussex prisons with TMC. Partnered on employment activity in London and Kent with Changing Paths. Charity supported by Wates and delivering quality Stone Masonry training in HMP Rochester.

Thank you to all our partners and employers for their support this year.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Best wishes

The A Fairer Chance Team


Welcome to our new website. Keep checking in for news and updates. This Wednesday we will be at Tottenham Hotspur Football Stadium helping local people with advice on work and training.

We will be in Acton on Thursday at an ex offender job fair. Follow us on twitter for more news and updates #afairerchance.