The mission

To help former prisoners reintegrate into society

As a major employer committed to social responsibility, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK aims to support the communities where we work by forging partnerships and creating training and job opportunities for disadvantaged groups. We also strive to recruit from the widest talent pool, including prison leavers, some of whom have transferable skills from previous careers but find it hard to get back into the world of work.

Our solution

Finding the synergy between re-use, rehabilitation and recruitment

In 2017, with support from the New Futures Network – which brokers relationships between prisons and employers – our Surrey team began working with HMP Ford, in neighbouring West Sussex. Our programme, which is fully supported by Surrey County Council, set out to provide opportunities for worthwhile employment for both serving and released prisoners.


We began by sponsoring the refurbishment of the bicycle repair shop at HMP Ford, doubling the number of workbenches so more prisoners could be trained in these valuable mechanical skills. Bicycles discarded at the 15 community recycling centres across Surrey are sent to be refurbished in the workshop and then sold back to the community through the county council’s network of Revive re‑use shops.


As prisoners near the end of their sentences, we also offer job opportunities – along with training and the chance to gain qualifications – at waste management facilities operated by SUEZ through the Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) programme, commonly referred to as day release.

The results

A second chance in life with sustainable employment

In its first full year, 314 bicycles refurbished by Ford inmates were sold through Revive shops. By its fifth year, the programme diverted nine tonnes of bikes for re‑use and 23 prison leavers had been offered permanent employment contracts, as of October 2021. In that month, we also promoted the benefits of the programme at New Futures Network’s employers’ summit.


While salvaging discarded bicycles and generating income to support Surrey County Council’s recycling service, the programme is helping offenders gain skills and employment, re-building their lives and self-esteem. We are also recruiting and developing talent that could otherwise be lost to society.


We hope to extend the training, refurbishment and re-use activities to other goods, such as waste electrical items, and to replicate the partnership in other parts of the country, starting with HMP Send for women, in Surrey.

Whilst Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service can provide all of the initial training and development for release back into society, our partnerships with companies like SUEZ are pivotal in completing the process and enabling the men at HMP Ford a second chance in life with sustainable employment.
Andrew Davy , Governor | Her Majesty's Prison Ford