Finding employment through Oak
At the Romney Marsh Visitor Centre, Growth Rings a Community Interest Company are displaying items for sale made out of oak. Tables, chairs, plant boxes, arches and much more are available, but the story behind how they have been made is a little different.
Director Mike Managh is now using his own skills as a third generation saw miller to work with people who are long-term unemployed, working with the Department of Work and Pensions to get people onto one of his programmes.
Learning a variety of skills, Mike has found lots of hidden talent in the people that take part in the Growth Rings training programme, even when they have never worked with wood before and in the workshop a huge variety of items are designed and made from oak, using the offcuts from the company's commercial arm.
Listen to the full interview with Mike here:
Left to right; Mike Managh and Carl Adams
Blown away by a programme in Sweeden that Mike visited, which rehabilitates ex offenders and substance abusers, the idea to form a Community Interest Company was born: "It's a marriage between social and commercial" said Mike.
"We have all sorts of people with all sorts of backgrounds. And talents I might add as well. Some people might think that people who've been out of employment for a long time actually can't and don't add a lot to society but actually what I'm seeing is people with real skills and talent."
Investing in people with a criminal record, a history of addiction, low skills levels and long term unemployment, Growth Rings was established to tackle these difficult social issues and to provide opportunites in training and employment for people in Folkestone, Hythe and on the Romney Marsh.
Growth Rings CiC