What is ROOF®?
ROOF® is the coatbag that saves lives on the streets. ROOF® is a social value game changer
Its 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.
ROOF® is made for the homeless by those who have experienced homelessness. ROOF® will identify the wearer’s core values without the need for words and overt branding.
The need for ROOF®
There is a pressing need to overcome systemic problems of homelessness in society. Despite government, agency and philanthropic best efforts, the situation worsens year on year. ROOF® is a way to alleviate the pressures crippling the current system and potentially become the go to business model for infinite possible positive social outcomes.
People die living rough on the streets. Incredibly in 2017 rough sleepers suffer from Trench Foot and other crippling diseases. Homelessness is on the rapid increase. ROOF® could really be the answer.
ROOF® is a dynamic and real time alternative to the continuation of the historic and current cycle. Unlike other projects which employ people experiencing homelessness, ROOF® provides a real and valuable product for its own and extended communities.
ROOF® is for people who for whatever reason are in sheltered accommodation or experiencing homelessness and who want to re-join mainstream society through sustainable employment.
Whats it all about...
ROOF®'s specific goal is to enable people to build a better life for themselves. To be the helping hand for those who have become trapped in the cycle of homelessness.
ROOF® is made by people who have first hand experience of homelessness. They've been introduced to us by their case workers at the Wallich and have already expressed a real interest in the opportunity Roof offers them. RDM then train them on what we call our 'eight stage training programme' (EST) (accreditation pending) and get them job and employment ready to joint he mainstream team. ROOF® gives people the leg up to lead a self supported life of independence for themselves and their families. ROOF® is an opportunity, a mission and a product.
RDM are partnered with The Wallich, Wales' Homeless Charity and University of Wales Trinity St David (UWTSD) to deliver ROOF® to the market for the benefit of the people who need it the most. RDM deliver the EST skills training and manufacture the product. The Wallich have bought the premises in which ROOF® is delivered and are on site to deliver ongoing pastoral care and support for the new recruits. UWTSD provides the expertise, know how and tech for the IP issues, the monitoring systems on the tester products and also manage the clinical trials testing the durability, usability and adaptability of ROOF® with multiple end user applications in mind.
Who we are
ROOF® is part of Red Dragon Manufacturing Ltd (RDM). We are a Swansea-based not for profit social enterprise business established in January 2014 rehabilitating those previously separated from mainstream employment through skills training and development. We make world class traditional sewn flags.
RDM is governed by a dynamic Board of Trustee Directors who oversee the overall business strategy and proactively assist and support Jo Ashburner Farr in her role of Ops Director and CEO in her running of the business on a day to day basis. This business is an award winning registered Social Enterprise, a Living Wage Employer, and holder of the Disability Confident Employer award.
This business has no shareholders, and ALL profits go back into the staff who work in the business, contribute to the training programme we run (we have given free training to 97 people since we started trading in January 2014 a high proportion of which have gone on to employment work ready. We also give donations and support other charities and social enterprises with similar interests.
The fact that all profits are reinvested in the community is an important factor and what makes Roof so unique and investment worthy.
Training and routes to employment
The specific goal is to help build a better life for those who have become trapped in the cycle of homelessness and hire homeless individuals from local shelters to become full time employees. There is a specific focus on hiring women with children in the first instance and roles within ROOF® include:
- pattern cutters
- quality control
- trim finishers
- post room, back office, admin, IT, marketing and more.
Employees earn a stable income which enable them to be eligible for secure housing and gain back their independence for themselves and for their families.
- builds on established social enterprise training, rehabilitation, manufacturing capabilities and experience.
- establishes a manufacturing unit combining training and rehabilitation of homeless people, particularly women with children in shelters and temporary accommodation
- establishes production facilities to manufacture the ROOF® product and employ the trained workforce.
- generates revenue through sales of ROOF® b2b and b2c
- donates a proportion of products made by the homeless to those in need within the homeless community to alleviate discomfort, accommodation and physical and mental health issues.
- develops a sustainable transferable business model which can be shared with other communities nationwide.
The long term objective is to grow the business to enable people to escape the benefit trap associated with low paid employment. Within ROOF® as with RDM there will eventually be more skilled, higher paid positions, as well as people moving on to related industries as they gain experience and confidence.
To achieve this last objective, we are building a strategy of continuous recruitment and training on our established track record of working with our established connections to allow us to be flexible and give staff confidence and autonomy to mutually support new recruits.
Training and accreditation
ROOF® trainees undertake an eight stage training programme - on the principles of cut make and trim (CMT) textile product manufacturing process. They are trained in the CMT of traditional sewn flags on the basis that 'if you can make a flag you can make anything' before graduating onto the higher value projects including ROOF®.
On successful completion of the eight stage training programme (which takes a minimum of two months to complete), the trainee achieves a level of skill needed to qualify for employment with ROOF®.
In time the strongest trainees become the trainers.
RDM is currently working on an accreditation for the eight stage training programme in collaboration with Gower College and it is anticipated that the training programme will be a recognised stepping stone to employment with other businesses, as well as with RDM.
RDM is a Disability Confident Employer, a Living Wage certified employer and an Equal Opportunities employer.
How did it come to this?
Click here to read the back story.
- RDM reached the finals in the 'One to Watch' Awards 2015 for ongoing and future projects including ROOF
- WalesOnline, South Wales Media, July 2017
- South Wales Evening Post (print)
What you get for your money
ROOF® is a really well made, British made, aspirational consumer product. Think high end, high standard of finish. ROOF® has a life time guarantee and wearing it identifies people's core social values without words.
ROOF® is instantly recognisable, understated, classic and timeless.
We anticipate that a ROOF® coatbag will retail for in the region of £280. Probably more. It will cost in the region of £120 to make a ROOF® to give to a homeless person. Probably more.
We raised £10,485K in donations to make samples to give to rough sleepers in the summer of 2017. Every little helps, so if you have even £20 to spare, please do get in touch and we'll give you the bank details so we can keep growing this fund. In the meantime we're taking pre-launch orders before we go live and viral by the end of 2017.
If you would like to get in at the beginning and buy a ROOF® for yourself on spec, we'll take £250 from you now and won't charge you a penny more if the price ends up being higher. If we don't supply you with your ROOF® coat bag within 12 months of the purchase date, you will get a full refund. No quibble.
If you would like to buy a ROOF® for homeless person, we'll take £120 from you now and allocate you with a serial number. That serial number will act as a history tag and be updated with information on that ROOF®'s journey and the life changes that its wearer experiences as part of the ROOF® programme. No names but lots of (hopefully) good news to reassure you that you've given to an amazing cause.
If you're a business and would like to contribute as part of your corporate social responsibility mission, that would be amazing and we'd like to talk to you about what we offer in return for that level of donation and contribution.
If you are a philanthropist and would like to donate any amount, however small, every little really does help so much. Regardless of the amount you are most welcome to join the ROOF® club with grateful thanks and a warm hello (this will be a closed group on Facebook until we have the anticipated interactive website).
We guarantee that everyone who contributes to ROOF® will always be valued and included in all open days, news and adventures. Always.
Social investors and collaborators... come on in
Collaboration comes in many forms and we welcome all contributors and contributions, personal or business.
We have partnered with the Wallich, Wales’ homeless charity and joined forces with UWTSD to develop, monitor and manage case studies for this project. They have allocated funds and research personnel to the project which will deliver a study of social outcomes and anticipated wide ranging application potential in addition to the development of an integrated digital app to monitor climate and body temperature changes and garment mobility.
We are seeking
- added value and intellectual investment
- introductions to do-ers who will help us grow the business strongly and organically
- fabric and fixture manufacturers to partner with us on CSR and deliver this product to market with as much margin as possible for reinvestment in the end user and our employees
- best business practice knowledge of supply chain, manufacturing practices and cost sharing.
- Trustee Directors to join our diverse Board, and
- financial investment to support research and development of the product for multiple applications and markets.
Working with us as a Trustee Director
We are actively recruiting to our Board of Trustee Directors with value adding contributors to help us achieve our aims and objectives from the get go. These opportunities are currently being promoted through the WCVA, SVCA and social media channels. The link to the position specification can be found HERE.
Due diligence is undertaken on every person connected directly with the business and each 'applicant' is invited to be considered for election to the Board subject to full agreement of the Trustee Directors already in place. The post of Trustee Director with the business is dependent on total confidentiality and discretion; and is unpaid.
ROOF® - long term plans
There are multiple variations and possibilities for the ROOF® project:
- The refugee crisis worsens on a daily basis and it is intended that ROOF® will contribute towards the alleviation of suffering and homelessness regardless of geography. We hope to engage with charities on the ground, including:
- Medicins sans frontiers
- Save the Children
- Army, armed forces, Ministry of Defence
- Welsh Regiment already on board
- Festival goers
- Glastonbury Volunteer lead already on board
- Camping applications
- Mountain and other rescue services
NESTA published a very interesting article on social innovation recently - click here to read. We couldnt have put it better ourselves.
ROOF® is a registered trademark with product design patent pending under review.