2021 was another year of frightening statistics. The record breaking numbers of Covid infections and sadly deaths and last year there were 30 young people under the age of 18 murdered in London, the highest ever. A horrific number. At the Skill Mill we work in a space where hardship, trauma and tragedy is commonplace for the young people we employ and we take a positive, strength based approach. We build on and capitalize on the good stuff, the qualities and the positivity. We rise to meet the problems and the challenges and tackle them head-on– we are solution focused.
That is why we can bring you a great statistic. We have employed 225 young people since we started this social enterprise in 2014. There have been 17 re-convictions. That is 7.5% re-convicted within one year of starting the programme compared with 72% of high risk young offenders being re-convicted within 1 year nationally. Even more incredible, during 2021 there were zero reconvictions. Not a single one.
This success is testament to the positive mindset, a belief in what is possible if we try, but also to the strength of the partnerships and our incredible team of supervisors. Not least it says everything about the young people who take this opportunity and make the most of it.
Creating these opportunities is tough and we need to thank all of our committed stakeholders who have also taken some risk to make this happen. The rewards have been tremendous and the social and environmental value we bring is enormous. Up to £90 million of tax payers’ money has been saved, a 12:1 return on investment on the savings to the criminal justice system alone, not to mention the associated other cost savings by creating employment and improving the life chances of the young people in many other ways. We also pride ourselves on the environmental impact we create which can also be measured.
Receiving TWO Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for Supporting Opportunity (through Social Mobility) and Sustainable Development was beyond our wildest dreams. In the same year also winning the Youth Justice Award in the Children and Young People Now Awards and we were also a finalist in the Social Enterprise UK Awards were fantastic achievements.
For us, this is important recognition acknowledging The Skill Mill as a business which trades successfully and also delivers a massive amount of social value. We are proud of our status as a NatWest SE100 company, as a Social Enterprise which puts the challenge of changing young lives as our number one priority.
There have been so many highlights too many to mention them all. The completion of 22 fish passes on the River Coquet, Northumberland ranks highly, all individually named by the young people. Meeting HRH Prince Charles in Windsor Castle in November for the Queens’ awards reception for was a personal highlight as was being able to gather our partners together in Alnwick for the Stakeholder Event in September. We also hosted The Baroness Baron in Birmingham as part of her ministerial visit schedule.
We have a lot to look forward to in 2022. We will be opening 5 new teams in January, which means by February 2022 there will be 64 young people in employment across the country. We plan to open even more sites through the year so watch this space. We will launch an e-shop where we will sell our incredibly popular facemasks and other merchandise to support our growth. Skill Mill will also lead the campaign for 2022 World Cleanup Day on 22nd September when the UK will be the world’s host nation.
There will be a very special guest coming to see us in the New Year which we are very much looking forward to but more on that later…..
Finally, all of us at #teamskillmill want to thank everyone who continues to support us in even the smallest way and help us change lives. We look forward to reporting some more happy numbers to you this time next year.
Meanwhile please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have an idea how you can help…..you can count on us to do the same.