Kathryn, aged 30, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraud. She is a single mother of two who struggles to make ends meet. Before entering prison, Kathryn had started exploring establishing a business to make cream liquor, similar to Baileys. Whilst in prison, she had already started speaking with a distillery about producing and bottling the product for her. However, she has never experienced running a business before and was referred to RIFT for support.

RIFT Social Enterprise sent a Business Start-Up Manager to see Kathryn in her prison in Kent and discussed her self-employment plans, including the option of being a limited company and applying for business loan. An in-cell workbook was given to Kathryn to work through following the visit, focusing on her self-employment plans.

Kathryn left prison in June 2019 and had the benefit of unlimited support for the first 12 months of trading. RIFT helped her register as a sole trader with HMRC and obtained her Unique Tax Reference Number (UTR). RIFT introduced her to an insurance broker who specialises in working with people with convictions. Ad-hoc support on marketing, finance and generic business support was continuously provided. Kathryn launched her business this year and is hopeful once the pandemic restrictions have been lifted that she is in a good place to move forward.


John, 24, used to work in the nightlife industry. Due to making poor decisions he got involved in selling drugs and was sentenced to 2 years in prison. John used to DJ for friends and family before going to prison.

Since entering prison, John has been actively thinking about his plans for the future upon release. He would like to leverage his expertise in DJ’ing to look for “a fresh start” and the chance to “be his own boss”.

A RIFT Business Start-Up Manager visited John while in custody and spent an hour talking to him about his plans, providing tailored advice particularly around the areas of HMRC registration and relevant insurances. Following the consultation, John continued to study via an incell workbook and kept in touch with RIFT who provided on going consultation.

John has now been released for three months and is in a strong position to start his DJ business. Although the Covid-19 pandemic has meant he will have to wait for a better time to start his business, he is fully registered with HMRC, has a robust business plan and marketing strategy and continues to maintain contact with RIFT.

"RIFT were polite, approachable, professional and understanding at all times. The calls were informative and relaxed which was excellent".
HMP Guys Marsh

"I was told everything I need to know and knowing I have the support there that I need gives me the confidence I need to get my own business started as soon as I get released and have my licence"
Resident at HMP Stafford

“The tax refund will ease certain pressures on me in prison so I no longer need to rely on family and will help me on release as well.”
resident at hmp winchester

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