What is ROOF?
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.
Put into perspective, we are all barely only three pay cheques away from being homeless ourselves and homelessness can happen to anyone.
We have developed ROOF, the product, training provider and business model to force a step change to that visible invisible problem.
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.
ROOF provides an opportunity underpinned by practical pastoral guidance and real long term employment prospects – ultimately ROOF provides a sustainable route out of homelessness.
The need for ROOF
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.
We then train them on what we call the 'eight stage training programme' (EST) (accreditation pending) and get them job and employment ready to join the 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.
We 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.
- We deliver the EST skills training and manufacture the product
- The Wallich supply 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.
ROOF is part of Red Dragon Manufacturing Ltd (RDM). We are a Wales-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.
Our bread and butter is the manufacture of traditional sewn custom flags - see www.reddragonflagmakers.co.uk for more info on this.
Our 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. We have no shareholders and ALL profits go back into the staff who work in the business and contributes to the training programme we have developed.
We have given free training to 120+/- lovely people since we started trading in January 2014, a high proportion of which have gone on to other employment work ready or stayed with us.
We also contribute to and support other charities and social enterprises with similar work ethics, mission and delivery.
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 to hire homeless individuals UK-wide to become full time employees.
There is a particular 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 (EST) 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 EST 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 EST programme in collaboration with Gower College and it is anticipated that it will be a recognised stepping stone to employment with other businesses, as well as with RDM via Apprenticeships Schemes and the like.
RDM is a Disability Confident Employer, a Living Wage certified employer and an Equal Opportunities employer.
What you get for your money
ROOF is a really well made, British made consumer product with a unique life time guarantee. It is instantly recognisable, understated, classic and timeless.
Research and development
In 2015 our boss, Jo Ashburner Farr was asked as Entrepreneur in Residence and Business Role Model at UWTSD to present a ‘real’ final year business project assignment to students at UWTSD. She commissioned and worked with eight students to produce a comprehensive feasibility study including market research (engaging with target end user and client base), financial projections and funding routes on the viability of the ROOF project which she had been working on for several years in the background.
Similar admirable projects all have a social mission but all rely heavily on donations in kind or financially. ROOF is different - it generates its own income to deliver social outcomes taking basic principle several steps further via commercialisation and revenue generating sales of the product.
The Empowerment Plan and Sheltersuit projects rely mostly on grants and donations which the UK version includes in strategy but is not dependent on. We have met with the guys at Sheltersuit in Enschede (Netherlands) and are looking forward to working together with the same mission to rehabilitate those suffering from homelessness.
Other projects with a similar mission include:
3. http://www.streetsleeper.org/ (Cape Town, South Africa).
Other fashionista type products include:
4. http://www.warmstuff.org.uk/ which coordinates fundraising, collection and distribution of warm clothing to homeless communities in the UK and Canada.
We always welcome donations, either in kind or financially or in advance payment of a ROOF product. All donations ultimately directly benefit rough sleepers. 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 January 2018.
Our fundraiser can be found on JustGiving - click HERE to access the page.Option 1
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.Option 2
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.Option 3
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.Option 4
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).Our GUARANTEE
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.
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.Intellectual Property
ROOF® is a registered trademark with product design patent pending under review. We are members of The Thomson Reuter Foundation and receive unlimited pro bono legal advise on all aspects of IP from amongst the best and most qualified legal businesses and individuals in the City of London.
All rights reserved. All rights are vigorously defended.