A social enterprise which works with unemployed and homeless people has been hailed as blueprint to tackle poverty.
Recycling Lives, which has its head office on Essex Street in Deepdale, Preston, has been given as an example as part of a strategy document put forward by the Department of Work and Pensions, entitled ‘Social Justice: transforming lives.”
The project aims to find ways to support disadvantaged people and families looking at ways to change people’s lifestyles rather than increase funds dedicated to tackling the problem.
Entrepreneur Steve Jackson, chief executive and founder of Recycling Lives, said the Government department was interested in the way it worked.
He said: “When someone comes to the Recycling Lives centre we provide accommodation, clothing and food, we also work hard to establish a solid work ethic in our residents.
“Many of the people we help come from workless backgrounds and have no qualifications, so we work with Preston College to offer education and training .
“We give people the skills they need to work for our business or move on to a job outside of Recycling Lives and, by having everything under one roof, we are also able to give these people the support they need to live independently in the future.
“Anybody referred to Recycling Lives understands this is not just a housing option, this is a lifestyle change.”
One resident, Sparky, is featured on the DWP website as an example of how the group works, telling the story of how he found himself living rough on the streets and addicted to drugs.
Having spent two years at the centre, he now has his own home, has launched a cleaning business and is planning to hire staff from the Recycling Lives programme.
He said: “Recycling Lives put a roof over my head, fed me, gave me a safe environment, provided a job and helped me get all these qualifications.
“I’ve stuck at it and made it work. I’ve got my own flat, my mum isn’t ill from the stress and worry I caused and I’m in touch with friends who say they’ve seen a massive improvement in me.
“I’m planning to set up my own cleaning business and I want to employ other people who’ve come through Recycling Lives to run it with me, my life is so different now.”