04 | 10 | 22

The Jericho Foundation

Change Kitchen01
Re Users05
Wood Shack00c
Re Users03 900x600

GL events UK Partner with Jericho to Deliver Social Value ahead of the Commonwealth Games

As Official Overlay Supporter to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, GL events UK has been committed to supporting social value initiatives across the West Midlands, which promote positive change in the lives of those most in need of support.

Much of the social value impact to date has been delivered through partnerships with local charities, social enterprises, and community organisations in the West Midlands. A key partner in this undertaking has been the Jericho Foundation.

What is The Jericho Foundation?

The Jericho Foundation is a charity and family of seven social enterprises that provide supported work opportunities for people facing challenges in getting a job. The projects run by Jericho unlock the potential of people in Birmingham who are experiencing inequality in the job market, by giving them real work opportunities and helping them progress towards sustainable employment.

Supporting survivors of modern slavery

As part of the social value programme delivery for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, GL events UK sought to develop a stronger understanding of the issues that affect their charity partners and their beneficiaries. Through their Equiano Plus project, Jericho provides long-term sustained support for survivors of Modern Slavery.

Louise Gore, who is Jericho’s manager for the Equiano Project, explains further:

“Equiano offers post-exploitation solutions that support victims more holistically and for longer periods, that not only provide victims with skills and help to rebuild their confidence in order to re-enter mainstream society but also reduce the vulnerabilities that leave them at risk of future re-exploitation. In practice, Equiano supports victims by placing them in voluntary roles or paid work within Jericho’s social enterprises, depending on the individual’s interests. For example, the Wood Shack, ReUsers or one of their cleaning services such as Miracle Laundry. Also, social events and art therapy are encouraged for victims to begin healing and building friendships in a safe environment.”

The GL events UK Leadership Team received a training session with Louise, examining how victims end up in the cycle of modern slavery, the impacts that this has on the victims, and what signs of modern slavery are, which might act as “red flags” for reporting suspected instances. With an emphasis on how prevalent this issue is in the UK, Louise gave an insightful presentation on why it is so important for people to develop awareness of the examples of modern slavery within business and the wider community.

Regrettably, less than 11,000 potential victims were identified in the UK in 2020, less than 15% of the total number, although this is still a 50% increase since 2018. Similarly, the cost to the UK economy is immense. Second only to homicide, the cost of modern slavery per individual is £300k. It is crucial for victims to be more visible in society and provided with the help they need to avoid falling back into the system. This is where organisations like Jericho are so important in contributing to a solution.

Rachel Baker, GL events UK’s CSR Lead, reflects on why training of this sort is important:

“It is essential that we are vigilant to signs of slavery in our organisation AND our supply chain and have robust procurement processes in place to ensure that our supply chain is equally vigilant. Beyond that, by working with organisations like Jericho, assisting victims to get back into “normal life”, we have the opportunity to offer work placements/employments that model good employment, while advising on employment rights – helping to prevent future exploitation. In fact, through our social value programme for The Games, we plan to offer several positive work placements within our Project team, and our wider supply chain, to candidates signposted by several of our charity partners. We are currently working with Equiano and hoping to find placements for Survivors of Modern Slavery.”

Introducing the Wood Shack

Another Jericho project supported by GL events UK is the Wood Shack, located in Sutton Coldfield.

Fundamentally, The Wood Shack was set up to be environmentally friendly by reclaiming, reusing, and recycling wood from various sources to create a range of products. This West Midlands wood shop supplies and stores high-quality reclaimed timber, wooden furniture and firewood for sale to all local businesses, schools and the public. In addition, the wood waste collection service provides a low-cost, sustainable alternative to skip-hire and diverts usable wood from landfill. 

As part of GL events’ Social Value programme, we have funded two apprenticeships for The Wood Shack, providing two young people with the opportunity to start a career and gain skills and valuable employment experience. As part of our sustainability commitment, we have donated all timber used on GL events’ Overlay delivery for Birmingham 2022 to The Wood Shack for reuse on their project.

Proceeds from the sale of The Wood Shack’s goods or services are reinvested into the Jericho Foundation. The Wood Shack takes on young and often disengaged individuals as apprentices, helping them to build the confidence and skills required to live, learn, and earn successfully.

The Wood Shack operates a commercial wood collection service that aims to collect as much wood as possible, which is either sold in the timber yard, reused, or recycled. The service collects wood waste, wooden furniture, pallets, cable drums and wood products, regardless of type or condition with the exception of MDF. The majority of collections are sourced from small businesses, construction sites, domestic households and manufacturing sites in the West Midlands.

As part of the wood reclaiming process, all good-conditioned wood is sorted and prepared by The Wood Shack’s team. This includes the removal of nails, screws, fasteners, and other metallic contaminants, as well as cleaning the wood to make it suitable for sale to their customers. Large pieces of wood are sold for reuse, such as DIY projects, and small pieces are transformed into a variety of products, for instance, bird boxes and the leftovers are cut up into firewood.

It is this income which The Wood Shack generate through the sale of timber products, and through the timber collection fee charged to businesses, that enables them to provide valuable training, work experience and employment opportunities for a wide range of disadvantaged individuals and help build their confidence and skills.

In addition, the social impact of Wood Shack extends to help local community groups save money because they charge less than the average skip hire. Moreover, some community groups, such as charities and nurseries, may be offered discounted prices for wood items, such as natural play blocks and worktables for children.

The wood collection service offers a sustainable alternative to landfill sites and 100% of the wood collected is reused or recycled, offering environmental benefits as well as supporting a circular economy in the local area in which they operate.

Involvement at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

At the request of the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee, The Wood Shack had the opportunity recently to create bespoke timber features at two of the Games time venues: time trial thrones for cyclists at Wolverhampton’s West Park and wooden signage for Smithfield.

The time trial is a race between cyclists who compete only against themselves and the clock. Accordingly, three thrones (first, second and third place) were specially created by The Wood Shack’s team for the Games, which were used by the three leading riders in the time trial. It took The Wood Shack two to three weeks to complete the three thrones, with apprentices working alongside The Wood Shack’s experienced carpenters. It is hoped that the thrones will have a second life in the local community, as part of the Games’ legacy programme.

The Smithfield wood panels were crafted in less than two months from reclaimed timber such as oak and plywood. In total, 60 panels made up a sign bearing the text “Welcome to Smithfield”. Each panel was cut to length and treated as a team effort by apprentices, drivers, and management.

Lucy Watkins, Manager at The Wood Shack commented:

“It was an honour to be closely involved in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The Games have played an important role in showcasing our small social enterprise and have helped us be publicly recognised on a national scale. Our staff also benefited from the Games, whether it was developing more skills or being trained on new equipment. In addition, they had a vested interest in seeing their items be used at the venues. We are very grateful for this opportunity and thank all of The Wood Shack’s staff for their support and participation. It was an amazing team effort!”

Introducing The Wood Shack

GL events UK’s commitment to delivering social value

GL events UK is proud to be partnered with organisations that are actively affecting social change. This collaboration reflects the business’s dedication to contributing positively to the communities they serve. As with the delivery of all major projects, GL events is committed to ensuring a meaningful and long-lasting event legacy from our delivery at Birmingham 2022. GL events UK’s involvement in Birmingham 2022 is not just about the immediate success of the event, but about fostering enduring benefits that will continue to uplift and inspire the community long after the event has concluded.