SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT CAMPAIGN SUPPORTS CLOTHING BRAND CREATED BY YOUNG EX-OFFENDERS
LinkedIn and international integrated communications agency, VCCP are supporting a new social enterprise, Inside Out, the UK’s first clothing brand created by young ex-offenders. The campaign works to actively improve employment opportunities for prison leavers and support their personal and professional development.
Inside Out is a social rehabilitation programme bringing recent prison leavers aged between 18 and 27 together, to help them develop a variety of skills and find employement. The group received training and mentoring as they created, designed and produced a clothing brand.
The unique rehabilitation programme launched in conjunction with the release of new data from the centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr). The research reveals that just two in ten prison leavers are able to find work in the first year of their release. Analysis of the data predicted that the likelihood of prison leavers finding employment only improves by 44% a year after their release.
Inside Out project founder Greg McKenzie, says, “Unemployment rates for former prisoners are much higher than among the wider population, even ten years after release. But there is a positive correlation between employment and reduced reoffending, which shows the need for proactive policies to ensure more prison leavers are able to access job opportunities and the tools and training they need to succeed. This is what Inside Out is all about.”
Inside Out provides prison leavers with technical skills, like screen printing and design, and business skills such as sales and marketing. Part of the programme covered soft skills such as teamwork and problem solving, that can be applied to any role. LinkedIn also helped the participants to develop their professional profiles on LinkedIn and learn about best practices on networking and job applications.
Creative communications agency, VCCP London devised the creative development of a pop-up store, where people could buy the exclusive items. LinkedIn also produced a two-minute social film documenting the journey of the young prisoners.
The clothing line consists of 13 pieces, including branded hoodies, hats, t-shirts and bags. The items were available for purchase at a pop-up store called ‘Blank Canvas’ in Westfield Stratford between 19-28 April.
"By giving these young prison leavers a second chance to demonstrate their potential we can start to remove some of the barriers they face and empower other young ex-offenders to make a fresh start,” adds Zara Easton, head of brand marketing, UK at LinkedIn.