“It’s always a heartening but humbling exercise to reflect on our work because so much happens across our charity and social enterprise.
“A real highlight of 2023 was welcoming 10 new team members. This included some entirely new roles – like our Housing Officer and Training Manager, who each meet the increasing or changing needs of our participants. We also filled vacancies or added extra capacity to teams – like welcoming a third member to our specialist support team. I’m also proud that 4 of those 10 started out as programme participants before progressing into full-time roles with us – like our new community Workshop Manager.
“As well as expanding our team, we expanded and enhanced our two newest programmes. The ACE Project revived its relationship with HMP Preston, expanding its reach to reduce reoffending risks. And the Training Kitchen adapted its model to deliver tailored cookery classes in the community, to further improve access to skills.
“Crucially, as we grew and enhanced our work, we also maintained some of the most important aspects – namely, our low reoffending rate and high employment rate for the rehabilitation programmes. These were maintained even as we adapted our programmes in prisons, facing some obstacles along the way.
“Our Food Redistribution Centre also kept up with high output even in the face of challenging conditions. Sourcing food has become more tricky in the last few years, due to supply chain challenges. To try to overcome this, one of our new starters was a Food Sourcer, who’s already made great links with local businesses to ensure we have enough stock to meet the ever-increasing demand for food. That work is being complemented by updating our fleet of vans to collect and redistribute surplus food.
“That’s just one of the ways we’ll be growing and evolving through 2024. We’ve lots of other plans too that we hope our partners, suppliers and supporters will support us in realising. For now, here’s a look back on all that was achieved through 2023…”

Alasdair Jackson OBE – Chief Executive
Recycling Lives Charity & Social Enterprise

Reducing reoffending. Feeding communities. Changing lives.

  • 904 individuals & 140 charitable groups supported
  • 72% of prison leavers secured employment on release
  • 2.3 million meals redistributed to communities
  • 1,000 tonnes of food diverted from waste
  • 1.5m waste electrical items recycled or refurbished

Release Potential

Our rehabilitation team delivered more unrivalled results in 2023, supporting hundreds of people to improve their skills, address offending behaviours and lead stabler lifestyles, ultimately reducing reoffending rates.

473 people supported – Comprising 385 across our 11 prisons, 70 through probation and 18 in the community.

65 prison participants completed ‘day release’ work placements – 72% of which were sourced by our team.

• 70 of our prison participants were released – 72% secured employment on release

• 70 of our probation participants completed work placements – 27% continued on in employment

47 new employers engaged – Working with 180 different businesses to create job opportunities.

7% reoffending rate – Fewer than 1 in 10 of our participants reoffended within one year of release.

Recycling workshops

Much of our rehabilitation work is underpinned by the teams in our recycling workshops. These engage participants in meaningful work, to dismantle, recycle or refurbish waste electricals and other household items, which offers opportunities to earn money, improve skills and have personalised support.

1.56m waste electrical units or household items recycled – including:

1,174,000 units processed for recycling across our six prison workshops, including TVs, monitors, computers and cameras.

387,000 items processed for repurposing or recycling in our community workshop, including internet hubs, gas meters and boilers being dismantled, separated or stripped down.

6,066 electrical items refurbished for resale in our partner-led workshop, bringing end-of-life items back into use to generate potential resale values of more than £88,000.

Specialist Support

Our specialist support team delivered more amazing results in 2023, helping people experiencing mental health challenges.

The team also expanded its offering in 2023, securing accreditation allowing it to deliver a range of training courses in-house and also welcoming a new team member.

120 individual sessions delivered each month (on average)

49 people referred to additional services – Participants were supported to work with health and housing services alongside their ongoing specialist support.

31 people successfully moved on from additional services – A number of participants found they no longer needed to rely on additional services thanks to the improvements made with the specialist support team’s help. For example, one lady reduced her use of prescription medication thanks to the improvements enjoyed from attending peer support groups.

144 people referred to the programme

92 people successfully ‘completed’ their programme of support

ACE Project

Our team in the ACE Project consolidated and further enhanced their offering through 2023.

The MAP Group (Members After Prison) – offering peer-to-peer support for people with multiple and complex needs – enjoyed excellent attendance numbers, and took members to deliver talks across the region.

Work with HMP Preston was revived in 2023 too, seeing ACE’s team make regular visits to the prison’s Release Hub to support men ‘through-the-gate’ ahead of or on release.

233 people referred to the programme through 2023

94 people supported each month (average)

325 MAP Group attendances – These weekly mutual aid sessions allow members to learn from and support one another.

231 individual instances of signposting to additional services

36 people supported to secure or maintain tenancies/accommodation each month (average)

10 public talks given – Our team visited public sector workplaces and education settings to share stories of hope or caution, including at HMP Preston, the Job Centre and a local church. Through the Princes Trust and a youth project run by Preston North End FC, we spoke to young people about the risks and realities of addiction and criminal lifestyles. And at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) we educated social work, pharmacy and mental health students on the factors that can lead people to require such public services.

8.5% reoffending rate – Fewer than 1 in 10 people engaged with ACE Project’s support reoffended and returned to prison.


Our residential programme enjoyed another busy year supporting men back into independence.

Working closely with our other programmes allowed residents to gain new skills on training courses or volunteer placements, ultimately moving into jobs and homes of their own.

14 men supported

4 residents progressed into own home and employment – These men moved into roles in the charity, logistics, and manufacturing sectors.

7 work placements completed – Residents volunteered with our programmes, in the recycling workshop, community café, and Food Redistribution Centre, shadowed staff from our Release Potential and ACE Project teams, and worked with external employers.

22 training courses undertaken – Residents secured certifications for CSCS, manual handling, banksman, fire marshal roles, learning to use telehandlers and FLTs, and completing First Aid and Mental Health First Aid training.

23 away days or events enjoyed – Our residents enjoyed a range of team-building days, evenings and weekends together, too, including bowling and mini golf, visiting the Bee Centre, and away days in the Lake District.

36 tours hosted – We welcomed commercial partners, supporters and suppliers to our head offices and residential facility to learn more about how this programme works.

79 people signposted – Where our residential offering wasn’t the best route for some men, we signposted people to work with our other programmes or other providers. Some came to volunteer in the community recycling workshop, joined the MAP Group, or were referred to be supported by the ACE Project, instead.

Food Redistribution

Our Food Redistribution Centre was as busy as ever through 2023, helping communities across Lancashire & Cumbria to feed people in need.

2.4 million meals delivered

140 CFMs supported – Community Food Members include schools, church groups, hospices and homeless shelters, along with community cooperatives, social supermarkets and food pantries. These consist of 98 groups in Lancashire and 42 in Cumbria. The equivalent of 2 million meals went to groups in Lancashire, and a further 456,000 went to groups across Cumbria.

1,000 tonnes of food diverted from waste

9 tonnes of toiletries and personal care items redistributed

11 tonnes of pet food redistributed – including 5 tonnes redistributed direct to animal charities or shelters.

These results were delivered in the face of increasing need and demand from communities through 2023 – as more and more people needed help with accessing food. At the same time, though, incoming goods from the food retail supply chain dropped, as operational changes and financial pressures made it more challenging for businesses to divert surplus stock to us. To meet this growing need, we grew our Food Redistribution team, bringing in a Local Food Source to work with businesses to access more surplus stock.

Volunteers continued to be vital to our Food Redistribution Centre’s work through 2023. Our volunteer programme ensure we can get food out to hundreds of member groups, while also offering participants invaluable opportunities to grow in confidence and meet new people as well as share or expand their skills.

78 people volunteered at our Food Redistribution Centre – People from all walks of life give their time to get food out to communities, completing short stints as part of training or education programmes, or becoming regular volunteers in weekly or even daily slots.

9 businesses completed corporate volunteering days – These businesses made time for their employees to join our warehouse team, to learn more about food waste and support with allocating and picking goods to be redistributed.

Training Kitchen

Our Training Kitchen expanded its offering in 2023, delivering tailored cookery classes externally as well as delivering Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food courses from our own facilities.

14 cookery courses delivered

106 people completed cookery classes

171 people enjoyed healthy, nutritious meals – Using their new cookery skills, participants cooked for dozens of others, making meals for their families, friends and neighbours.

15 people signposted – Some participants used the cookery course as a springboard into other opportunities, including one being supported into employment, three being supported into new housing, and six being referred to support services.

5 people moved into voluntary roles – These participants stayed on in voluntary roles in our community café to further expand their skills.

7 courses delivered externally – We expanded our cookery classes model in 2023, allowing us to deliver different courses externally. This saw us support people in the community and in prisons. Working with the NHS in Burnley we delivered a course focussed on cooking for diabetes and high cholesterol, and with the NHS in Preston we ran a cooking for wellbeing course. To do this, we trained up another of our team members to deliver both the Jamie Oliver course and our own classes.

Our team

To achieve this impact, we invested heavily in our team through 2023.

10 new team members recruited – In January we welcomed Keith and Andy back to our team. Keith used to work alongside us as Training Manager and is now in the same role in-house. Andy started out in one of our prison workshops and now manages our community recycling workshop. Jimmy moved into a full-time role in the same workshop after completing voluntary and paid work placements with us. Tomas and Paul also joined our team having first volunteered with us – Tomas is in our Community Café and Paul is at the Food Redistribution Centre. Liz also joined the Food Redistribution Centre as our new Local Food Sourcer. In our prisons, Lorraine and Sian now run our recycling workshops in HMPs Lancaster Farms and Sudbury, respectively. Hayley is our new Housing Officer, making sure we can get participants into decent accommodation. And Nick has joined our Specialist Support team, delivering important wrap-around support to participants.

Dozens of training courses completed – Our team completed a range of training courses to bolster their skills and expertise. Our pastoral teams completed Mental Health First Aider training and Naloxone and Suicide & Self Harm Awareness courses. Practical courses included securing FLT licenses or Food Hygiene certificates and learning First Aid skills. And we now have team members enhancing their leadership skills through courses with Common Purpose and the Institute of Leadership & Management.

4 away days enjoyed – We try to prioritise team-building days as much as training days, to maintain our team bond and allow ourselves to recharge. We took three ‘Welfare Walks’ up in the Lake District and had an all-team day out around Kendal in September.

Learn more about our work and wider impact in our 2023/24 Impact Report
- to be published this Spring

Help us to sustain this impact...

Partner with us - Employers can support our work by partnering with us to offer training and work to participants.

Sponsor our work - Businesses can sponsor our programmes, offering one-off or regular donations to support our work.

Supply to us - Businesses across the food retail supply chain can send surplus stock to our Food Redistribution Centre, preventing it from going to waste.

Donate to us - Individuals can make donations or pledges to support our work.

Refer to us - If you have a friend or family member you think would benefit from our support, please do get in touch.

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