Self-employment advice, training and long-term support

"It gave me confidence that it's a real possibility to become self-employed, rather than think because of prison there's no hope, help or support."

resident at hmp stafford

We currently deliver a full range of services in 32 prisons and 2 Probation areas and we have adapted our successful self-employment service to cater for the Covid-19 restrictions that are currently in place, moving from in-person meetings to telephone consultations with a Business Start-Up Specialist and the creation of an in-cell workbook which has been recognised by the Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE).

This new model of delivery is currently being delivered in five prisons, across North London DWP region and with the Work and Health Programme in Wales.  

With the Covid-19 pandemic likely to significantly impact upon prisoners’ chances of securing PAYE work on release, we believe that self-employment is a crucial area for Prison Governors to focus on. A recent survey amongst residents at HMP Thameside found that 20% of its residents had been self-employed prior to coming into prison (including those working in the construction industry) and 60% were interested in pursuing self-employment on release.

Our remodelled self-employment service now consists of:

  • An initial 45 minute phone call with a RIFT Business Start-Up Specialist who will discuss the customer’s self-employment plans in detail and who will provide expert advice and guidance on what steps they should start thinking about in preparation for commencing their business on release. An action plan will be agreed
  • An self-employment workbook for the customer to complete focusing on topics such as: business insurance, funding, competitor research, pricing, and marketing. Once this workbook is completed and sent to us, we provide constructive and comprehensive feedback on what they have written and encourage ongoing communication. They will also receive an IOEE certificate for having completed the workbook. We will send them advice, tips and extracts from relevant publications in order to encourage them to continue focusing on their self-employment plans
  • They will receive unlimited support from a RIFT Business Start-Up Specialist/Accountant during their first year of trading and we will provide regular feedback to the funder regarding what progress they are making.
  • The support on release includes: 12 months free business banking, a free mobile phone and sim card when they register their business with HMRC, access to a specialist insurance broker, free business cards, support with website development and free advertising of their business on our website. We are being supported by the University of Central Lancashire.
  • We will complete their first Self-Assessment tax return for them free of charge, teaching them how to do it for themselves the following year
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RIFT Social Reform CIC, RIFT House, 200 Eureka Park, Upper Pemberton, Kennington, Ashford, Kent, TN25 4AZ

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