Islington charity gives women ex-offenders a ‘working chance’

Jocelyn Hillman, right, is founder of Islington charity Working Chance. Picture: Sam Mellish

Jocelyn Hillman, right, is founder of Islington charity Working Chance. Picture: Sam Mellish - Credit: Archant

An Islington charity is calling for employers to give women ex-offenders and care leavers a “chance to work”.

Working Chance, in White Lion Street, is campaigning as part of National Inclusion Week, starting on Monday.

The charity helps subscribers find sustainable work, and wants companies across Islington to consider hiring more diverse workforces.

It follows the success of Upper Street supermarket Budgens, which has thrived – and won awards – after recruiting unemployed people with barriers to employment such as criminal records and disabilities.

And Working Chance founder Jocelyn Hillman said: “We have 100 excellent candidates on our books right now. People around Islington need good workers and we have them.

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“Islington has all the main shops. We would like to get the likes of Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Gap to support us. There’s so many restaurants and cafes that would also give some of our women perfect entry-level jobs. And we have skilled workers.”

She added: “We need to spread the message. A lot of companies hire people who look like them and sound like them. But diverse boards and workforces actually make for better productivity.

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“And if we exclude women with criminal records it only makes our neighbourhoods less safe. These women are isolated, and their children are more likely to grow up in poverty.”

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