Russell Brand launches employment service for ex-offenders and addicts
Comedian Russell Brand has launched a new employment service for ex-offenders and people overcoming addiction.
The scheme, run by rehabilitation charity RAPt and employment agency Blue Sky, will offer training, advice and work opportunities to recovering addicts struggling to hold down a job.
It was officially launched at an event at London's Trew Era Cafe, the community hub Brand opened in 2015, on Wednesday.
Speaking of the initiative, he said: "When people work together they can find the connection required to overcome addiction."
Since Brand donated the cafe to RAPt (The Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust) last year, it has been run by the charity's users as one of its list of recovery enterprises.
Among the list is independent fashion label Nina Baker, which the charity helped save from collapse.
Its founder, Vanessa Blythe, said at the launch event: "I started on a market stall in 2014 and after a year I was struggling.
"Russell introduced me to RAPt and its recovery enterprises initiative - if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be here today."
RAPt boss Mike Trace said: "Our clients are motivated to put a life of crime and addiction behind them, and getting a job and having a legitimate income is a part of that process.
"Employers may instinctively avoid recruiting from this group but we are calling on organisations who can offer employment opportunities to our clients to get in touch.
"Over a third of our own staff are in recovery from addiction or ex-offenders themselves and we have seen thousands more thrive with other employers or by setting up their own businesses."