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29th November 2017

Unltd award ROOF major support and funds #togetherunltd

ROOF wins  funding and support from UnLtd to deliver social impact in the South Wales communities. www.roofcoatbag.wales 

Unltd award ROOF major support and funding
ROOF has won a major award from UnLtd, the UK’s foundation for social entrepreneurs, this winter. The funding and expert support from UnLtd will help the organisation make lasting social change in its local and extended communities and aim to break the cycle and epidemic of homelessness for many.

Its incredible and shocking that even today, people are reduced to sleeping rough on our streets and in our doorways; subjected to being set alight, urinated on, suffering from trench foot and neglect for want of basic human needs and societal support.  In 2017, people are still dying on our streets and put into perspective, we are all barely only three pay cheques away from being homeless ourselves and homelessness can happen to anyone.

Red Dragon Manufacturing, a Swansea social enterprise manufacturing business, has developed ROOF - a product, a training provider and a business model to force a step change to the visible invisible problem of homelessness.
 
In product format, ROOF is an affordable intelligent ‘coat for life' with a lifetime guarantee and multiple applications.  It is a water-resistant, insulated, all in one padded coat with an integrated sleeping bag, hood, hidden pockets and breathable interlining - designed to pack-away into a cross over lightweight and portable shoulder bag. 
 
For somebody who is homeless, ROOF is their shelter, their warmth and their security to help them survive the harsh reality of living on our streets. 
 
The ROOF business mission gives people the platform on which to build a better life for themselves, to be the safe zone for those who are trapped in the cycle of homelessness and to help those break free from the revolving door that sees people return to living on our streets due to a lack of opportunities. 
 
In partnership with Wales’ Homeless Charity, The Wallich and UWTSD, ROOF provides an opportunity underpinned by practical pastoral guidance and real long term employment prospects – ultimately ROOF provides a sustainable route out of homelessness.  UWTSD is also partnered on the project and leads on the research, technology and product testing to establish the integrity and life-saving qualities of ROOF against extreme weather conditions and personal safety measures.
 
Mark Norbury, UnLtd CEO, said: Tackling society’s most complex challenges requires a radical shift in thinking and practice. That’s why social entrepreneurs are so important – they create bold, sustainable innovations based on their lived experience of the issues they are seeking to address. It is wonderful to see this new cohort of award winners creating such social and economic value for their communities, while collaborating so well to get the most out of all their ideas, energy, resources and talent.”
 
Jo Ashburner Farr, the designer and founder of Red Dragon and ROOF said: “This grant will support our mission to increase positive social outcomes and critically enable ROOF to be an extension to our current social enterprise taking it to the next level – addressing homelessness and creating more jobs and training opportunities to vulnerable people in South Wales.”

UnLtd is currently working hard with partners from both the public and private sectors to help deliver social impact by harnessing the huge potential of social entrepreneurs to solve society’s biggest challenges. The organisation is focused on three big impact areas; resilient communities, employability and solutions for an ageing society. More information on UnLtd’s latest funding opportunities is available online here.
 
Ends
 
Editor’s notes
For more information, please contact Jo Ashburner Farr on 07977 631393
or 01792 466732, em:  jo@reddragonmanufacturing.co.uk, twitter @roofcoatbag and @reddragonmfg; website: www.roofcoatbag.wales
 
Any UnLtd questions should be directed to pauldrury-bradey@unltd.org.uk / mob: 07545933810
 
What’s available for media?
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Interviews with founders and people from our network
 
About Red Dragon and ROOF

ROOF is part of Red Dragon Manufacturing Ltd (RDM), a Swansea-based business and social enterprise established in January 2014 with the remit to rehabilitate those previously separated from mainstream employment through skills training and development whilst producing world class high end textile goods.

The Company's main source of sales and income to date has been the design and manufacture of traditional sewn custom flags for clients worldwide including the European Space Agency, Hollywood film productions, as official supplier to the NATO Summit in Wales 2015 and Welsh Government - see www.reddragonflagmakers.co.uk for more info on this. 

The Red Dragon business is governed by a dynamic Board of Trustee Directors who oversee the overall business strategy and proactively assist and support the Ops Director and CEO in her running of the business on a day to day basis. The business is an award winning registered Social Enterprise, a Living Wage Employer, and holder of the Disability Confident Employer award. Red Dragon has no shareholders and ALL profits go back into the staff who work in the business and contribute to the training programme the business has developed.  Red Dragon has delivered free training to 120+/- people on site since trading started in January 2014, a high proportion of which have gone on to other employment work ready or stayed with the company.  

About UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs
UnLtd funds and support passionate and committed social entrepreneurs who are determined to tackle the key issues facing society.
 
UnLtd began in 2002 and since then has given out over 13,000 awards of support and funding, direct and through partners, to social entrepreneurs to start up and scale their impact. It supports individuals running ventures firmly rooted in delivering positive social change.
 
On top of this, UnLtd has developed a vibrant network of supporters in the UK and across the globe and is at the heart of a thriving movement for social change. Social entrepreneurs have solutions to some of the most pressing issues faced by society. UnLtd brings together insight and innovation from across the world so that social entrepreneurs can fulfil their potential to change the UK for the better.
 
For more information about the support offered by UnLtd go to www.unltd.org.uk 
 
Twitter: @UnLtd
Facebook: www.facebook.com/unltd
YouTube: www.youtube.com/unltdvideos   

#TogetherUnltd

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29th August 2017

UWTSD graduate launches innovative product and project to break the cycle of homelessness

Surface Pattern Design graduate and UWTSD alumni Jo Ashburner Farr has joined forces with the University and Wales’ homeless charity, The Wallich to deliver what could potentially be a gamechanger for rough sleepers and those suffering from homelessness.

ROOF® is the all in one water-resistant insulated composite textile coat with integrated sleeping bag, designed to give the wearer added protection against weather and fire hazards and an easy release mechanism to protect against physical harm. 

Within the official collaboration between Jo’s social enterprise business Red Dragon Manufacturing Ltd, UWTSD, and The Wallich, the University is managing the delivery of clinical trials on the product prototypes, product risk assessment, fabric fatigue, durability and ‘fit for purpose’ testing in support of the product’s lifetime guarantee. The Wallich has extended its already extensive role in supporting rough sleepers to manage the pastoral care so important to their clients and service users and once the product has completed the clinical trials will go to market as the first ‘intelligent’ coat of its kind and the first coatbag to be commercialised. As a social enterprise, Jo’s business is limited by guarantee, has no shareholders and is overseen by an enviable Board of Trustee Directors including the CEO of Social Enterprise UK, Peter Holbrook.  All profits are reinvested into the business, the community and employees.

As a high end product a basic ‘Watson’ ROOF® will retail for in the region of £350 for and sales will support the donation of every fifth product to a rough sleeper as well as support the rehabilitation and employment of a person from that community.

As a priority in this collaboration and innovation is the eight-stage training programme being taught to service users as a route to sustainable employment and life changing opportunities for the individual and their dependents.  The training programme which has successfully helped to rehabilitate more than 100 people since 2014 will officially launch once the business and the charity have together completed the imminent move to larger premises in the Swansea City area, an investment made by the Charity itself.

ROOF® and the parent company Red Dragon Manufacturing Ltd was established by Jo in 2014 and its other successful ranges include traditional sewn and quality printed custom design flags (www.reddragonflagmakers.co.uk) and the manufacture of textile goods for start-up and small businesses.

Jo graduated from UWTSD’s Swansea College of Art in 2004 with a First Class Honours and a Scholarship to do a Masters in Enterprise at Manchester University.  No mean feat as she had first gone to Foundation in 2000 as a single homeless parent of a 10 month child.  After graduation Jo went on to become Wales Regional and UK Businesswoman of the Year in 2006 with her brand Noonoo© which she first developed at UWTSD.  Her brand and products went on to win Sustainable Product of the Year in New York and Best Product in Show (Extra Small) at Maison and Objets in Paris that same year and in 2009 she became Entrepreneur in Residence at UWTSD, a Role Model for the Welsh Government in 2012 and Entrepreneur of the Year (Manufacturing) in 2015.

For information on ROOF® and how to donate to, participate in or work for the project, please go to www.roofcoatbag.wales 

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