The Wythenshawe family-run retailer, known for its locksmith and shoe-repair services, describes itself as a real equal opportunities employer, considering anyone for vacancies as long as they are able to do the job. This includes ex-offenders and other marginalised groups. The business also operates as Max Spielmann and Snappy Snaps photo shops.
Tony Lloyd said:
“The transition from prison to normal life is enormous. Without proper support, ex-offenders can easily find themselves turning back to a life of crime because they are struggling to find employment or adapt to life on the outside.
“Businesses like Timpson help to reduce reoffending and criminal behaviour which benefits us all, not just the individuals they support. I would urge more businesses in Greater Manchester to take a look at their impressive business model, particularly the high regard with which they hold their staff.”
Tony visited the Timpson store in Bury to speak firsthand to ex-offenders who have been employed by the retailer, including store worker Sarah Barker who was sentenced to five years for stabbing a man who attacked her.
In the months leading to Sarah’s release, a representative from Max Spielmann came into the prison to recruit for staff for their stores. Sarah successfully applied for a position and worked for the store for six months while under release on temporary licence, and has been with Timpson since her full release 2011.
“When I was released from prison I had no family to help me and not very many friends. I was so glad to be released, but it felt like such a daunting prospect – I didn’t know where to start. I had nowhere to live and no one to turn to.
“My store manager let me live with her until I was able to transfer to a shop in Bury, where I knew a friend lived. I worked really hard and became manager there but had to take time off because of post-traumatic stress disorder over my attack. They were really patient and understanding, and let me return to work in a less stressful position. I’ve been with them since 2010 and am so grateful for the support they’ve given me. They really helped me turn my life around and I’m supporting myself now.”
“Thanks to support from Timpson, Sarah has worked hard to get back on her feet and restart her life. It’s an impressive achievement for which both Sarah and Timpson should be proud.”
Timpson works closely with the prison service and says it can identify potential candidates within prisons who have the right kind of personality to make it on release working within the business. It’s a closely managed process from selection, training and mentoring, up to release, with the opportunity to secure employment from the company from walking out the gates. 10% of Timpson employees were recruited directly from prison.
Chief Executive James Timpson chairs the Employers Forum for Reducing Reoffending (EFFRR), a group of likeminded employers who offer a second chance to people with a criminal conviction. Its members actively encourage other employers to be more willing to recruit ex-offenders and are on hand to help guide businesses along the way to help maximise the success of any placements.