The Skill Mill in Nottingham has been supporting ex-offenders in the community in a unique project with the Canals and Rivers Trust, that’s been funded by the Severn Trent Community Fund.
With a grant of £10,000, the project aims to give young people the opportunity to carry out tasks along the canal, making big improvements to the local environment.
The Skill Mill is a social enterprise that works with ex-offenders, actively reducing reoffending whilst increasing engagement, participation, employability, and educational levels of the young people to increase their life chances.
Sue Heyes, Community Fund Officer from Severn Trent said: “Now more than ever, we really need to support each other and our communities, and this project between The Skill Mill and the Canals and Rivers Trust is providing young people with new skills and the opportunity to do valuable work that will benefit our regions rivers.
“Our fund was created to help projects like this, that aim to make a tangible difference in our communities and environments, which is why we’re pleased to have supported such a great project like this.”
Severn Trent launched its Community Fund in January 2020, and aims to donate £10 million over the next five years to community groups and projects across it’s whole region.
Across Nottinghamshire, the company has awarded 12 projects with funding for community projects, that aim to improve the environment, and the people living in the community.
Davie Parks, Managing Director of The Skill Mill: These young people who have been drawn into criminality need a realistic opportunity to break the cycle. The Skill Mill achieves this by helping to change their identity from one of offender to an employee with legitimate income, self-respect and a desire to change their behaviour and contribute positively to society and the economy.
East Midlands Canal and River Trust: “I must say that I’ve personally been really impressed with the work carried out so far by the young people. What they have done in the short time they’ve been down by the canal so far has made a massive impact – the site looks brilliant and its made a real impact to the Meadow Lane site. All the work has been conducted to a high standard, and they have all acted extremely professionally whilst they have been with us. I’m really looking forward to seeing what else they achieve.”
Young Person: “Skill Mill gave me that massive chance to prove that I’m not a criminal and I can work, I’m willing to work, and get up every morning and to do stuff for the environment.”
Young Person: “I find it (The Skill Mill) useful and enjoyable. I feel confident in what I’m doing now. I have found new friends in my teammates. I enjoyed all aspects of the work as it something I want to do. It has changed my life because I have had extra responsibilities.”