Five year success story for Norwich cafes which rehabilitate prisoners

Davina Tanner at Café Britannia. Picture: Matt Keal / mattkealphotography

Davina Tanner at Café Britannia. Picture: Matt Keal / mattkealphotography - Credit: Matt Keal

A social enterprise which helps rehabilitate prisoners by giving them valuable work experience in cafes around Norwich has revealed figures to demonstrate the impact it has made.

And Britannia Enterprises says its pioneering work - where prisoners work in cafes to get them ready for a return to the outside world after stints behind bars - has helped save the taxpayer more than £8m.

The enterprise started in 2014, with the Britannia Cafe based at the former Britannia Barracks

Staffed by low-risk, category D prisoners, the idea was to give the prisoners the chance to learn new skills and make a fresh start.

Now in its fifth year, the enterprise has expanded, with Guildhall Britannia in Norwich's Guildhall and Park Britannia, in the pavilion at Waterloo Park.

And it has released figures to show just what has been achieved.

They show that in 2017, 153 prisoners were involved in the enterprise, with 75 going on to gain employment on a prisoner's wage and 20 successful in getting full-time jobs on release.

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Sixteen bursaries, totalling more than £3,800 were given out and more than £9,000 raised for charities, including domestic abuse charity Leeway.

And the re-offending rate of those involved with the enterprise is 41pc lower than the national average.

Davina Tanner, OBE, founder and chief executive of Britannia Enterprises, said: 'Whilst the Britannia brand is well known within Norwich, and most people have a good idea of what we do and why, we haven't been very good at telling people about all the extra little things that their support enables us to do – all of which contribute to reducing reoffending and to making our community safer.

'As a social enterprise we reinvest all our profits back into the enterprise allowing us to do more and have an even greater impact.

'We do these things because they are all part of our social purpose.

'Our customers make great things happen and they really do help to change lives with every purchase from our cafés.

'Every order of food and drink that our customers place enables us to continue to provide offenders with employment opportunities, training and a fresh start in life – all of which helps to stop them from reoffending.'