Key4Life and Social Pantry

Alex Head, owner and founder of Social Pantry, tells us more about her personal and professional involvement in Key4Life, a charity who helps ex-young offenders get back into work after release from prison.

Why did you get involved in Key4Life: 

One of the most important parts of my job as owner of Social Pantry is to create opportunity for employees who join the company and it is extremely important to me that no one dwells on the past and only looks at the opportunities ahead.

Every team member that joins has a certain ambition which I believe in and I personally try to help them work towards their own personal and professional goals.  It is the same with the Key4Life boys who have an incredible determination to succeed. 

How does Social Pantry support Key4Life:

In a number of ways… Social Pantry offers full-time employment when the positions are available and also offers three-day work tasters for the boys on their first few weeks of their release. A three-day work taster is a form of work experience where they will come in and experience three days at SP.

I also personally mentor a gentlemen outside of Social Pantry who has just landed a job at Gaucho…which is awesome!

IMG_7604Tell us more about a few of the gentlemen you work with.

Suhail (who was Employee of the month in March 2016) was our first employee who came through the Key4Life programme.  He started working with us three days a week in October 2015. Fast forward 6 months and Suhail is a team leader within his team, responsible for working weekend shifts at our catering unit unsupervised and is a great role model to his juniors.

We have since had Hassan and Jordan work with Social Pantry for their three-day work tasters which have both been a great success.

IMG_7241What has been brilliant about your experience:

Watching Suhail’s journey has been so fantastic. Since he has come on board he has grown in confidence and is so embedded in the SP team that no one even knows his back story. The team at SP have fully supported the team members who have come on board and have embraced the charity which is a great support to my experience.

SuhailWhat challenges have you faced:

Going to see the boys in Isis prison pre-release was a personal challenge, I openly chat to the boys who now work with me and explain that a prison environment is far more daunting than embracing a job on the outside! When I get nervous about business challenges, I am comforted by the fact that I overcame the challenge of going into a prison to do a talk to the boys.

How did you hear about Key4Life?

Word of mouth!  A friend of mine had heard of the charity and suggested I get involved: I love chatting about the experience so shout if you want to hear more…