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Comedian, Russell Brand, patron of addiction and prison charity RAPt, has launched a new employment service at the Trew Era Café, next door to its London Recovery Hub. 

Crucially, the new services offer ex-offenders the chance to maintain their recovery and reduce re-offending by landing and keeping a job. This was the main inspiration behind Russell’s decision to set up the café, which he donated to RAPt last year. Talking about its purpose, he said “when people work together they can find the connection required to overcome addiction”. 

Taking a look at the national statistics, it’s clear to see exactly how much such services are needed. After all, employment reduces the probability of someone re-offending by up to 50% and it’s also a major factor in people staying clear of alcohol and drugs. 

There’s a real mixture of services all aimed at preparing addicts and offenders ready for work; from volunteering, apprenticeship and work experience opportunities, through to training and advice.
Operating as a recovery enterprise, the café has been set-up and is now being run by people in recovery from addiction. 

RAPt now supports three such enterprises, including catering company Cocoa Delight and fashion label Nina Baker. Vanessa Blythe, founder of Nina Baker, who attended the event, said:

“I started on a market stall in 2014 and after a year I was struggling. Russell introduced me to RAPt and its Recovery Enterprise initiative. If it was wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here today.”

Mike Trace, CEO of RAPt, said: “Our clients are motivated to put a life of crime and addiction behind them. Getting a job and having a legitimate income is a part of that process.”

Such initiatives are most certainly in desperate need. After all, The Work and Pensions Committee recently reported that former offenders leaving prison face a “cliff edge” drop off in support for regaining employment when they re-enter the community.

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