ROOF working page

The challenge

Malnutrition, illness, disease and death is the eventual result of homelessness. Not just in a war zone, or as a result of a natural disaster, but in Cardiff, Swansea, London and our other great UK cities. As a society we can change this.

The opportunity

We are a social enterprise delivering a proven business model which rehabilitates through skills training and employment, manufacturing revenue generating product. ROOF® is a way to alleviate the pressures currently crippling our social system and potentially become the go to business model for infinite possible positive social outcomes.  Through ROOF® we give a route to rehabilitation through training and the chance of sustainable gainful employment as full time machinists, production technicians or administrative staff earning a living wage with which to secure housing, and re-gain independence, self-respect and safety.

The project

ROOF® is a high end water-resistant insulated all in one padded coat with an inbuilt sleeping bag, hood, hidden pockets and breathable interlining - designed to pack-away into a cross over lightweight and portable shoulder bag. Key components of the product include use of the lining material previously used in the packaging industry which gives insulation and water resistance; and the integrated app technology developed by UWTSD which monitors weather, social conditions and product usability and purpose.


ROOF™ will enable the education, employment and empowerment of homeless people and to support a proactive return to a better life for themselves and their families, while producing a humanitarian product for those in need.

ROOF™ -  enabling and empowering homeless people to build a better life for themselves



ROOF® 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.  



ROOF™ is:

  1. a high end aspirational product (North Face, Barbour, Patagonia) finished to a high standard. The RRPs for this product start at c.£350 for the basic ROOF™
  2. a philanthropic gift to be distributed to homeless people living on the UK streets at no cost to them, funded through a combination of partnerships established with outreach agencies in our local community, and business to business / business to consumer sales.

Sales of ROOF® through business to business and business to consumer channels will generate the income to cover overheads, support a healthy cash flow stream, pay for production development, marketing, sales, the expansion of the programme and the rehabilitation and employment of the target clients. All products are made by members or ex members of the homeless community.

In addition to sales revenue:

  1. a sponsorship system facilitating CSR and philanthropic donations
  2. collaborations enable best business practice and cost sharing
  3. a crowd funding programme will raise awareness and signpost donations
  4. community and philanthropic grants will be applied for (UnLtd, Princes Trust, BOSS).

Sales of every five ROOF® products enable the donation of a fifth and/or sixth to a homeless person.


The RDM website has been prepared with multi channels to sell all RDM products including flags, ROOF and other pop up and own label products made by RDM.

Multiple external sales channels including Amazon, Ebay and Etsy have been programmed through service provider VEEQO to integrate with the RDM website and manage sales and stock. The VEEQO system enables a one time login, one time product upload and one time order alert with sales reports all streamlined to enable immediate financial and actual status assessment.

RDM reached the finals in the 'One to Watch' Awards 2015 for ongoing and future projects including ROOF®.

It is anticipated that the product will be retailed direct to consumers centrally with the exception of:

  1. ROOF retail unit (at workshop) in collaboration with the Wallich
  2. TYF -
  3. Collaborations
  4. No external agents, distributors, retailers or contractors.

An addendum to the RDM 2014 Business Plan (both researched and written by BIC Innovation, and funded by the Wales Cooperative Centre) is available on request.

The financial assumptions included in the addendum are expanded in the financial assumptions found on the shared Dropbox folder. Access by permission only.


Neither the Plan nor the financial assumptions have not been amended in any way since as the project has continued to evolve and the following should be taken into consideration:

  1. ROOF® product unit production costs may go down as well as up
  2. The unit retail price has yet to be determined. The financial assumptions state a price of £185 per unit.  The price for a basic ROOF® will actually be in the region of £350 per unit.
  3. The business pays a monthly rent of £600pcm plus bills – these are incremented in the financial assumptions and increased over time which is not the case
  4. The financial assumptions are very conservative on quantities of products sold
  5. Training, sales and infrastructure will always be built on the sales and production of
    1. flags
    2. own label production for other companies
    3. pop up products.
  6. The financial assumptions do not account for income from grants, donations, crowd funding contributions, payments for training or longer term production contracts. RDM has evolved since these financial assumptions were put together.  Overheads and cost of sales have been streamlined.
  7. As at May 2017, RDM financial situation is summarised as follows:
    1. No creditors
    2. No debtors
    3. No overdraft


ROOF® trainees undertake an eight stage training programme - on the principles of cut make and trim (CMT) textile product manufacturing process.  Trainees are trained in the CMT of traditional sewn flags 'if you can make a flag you can make anything' before graduating onto the higher value ROOF® project and materials.

Over time, trainee positions are available for sales, office, marketing, admin, despatch and distribution, quality control and line management positions within the organisation. 

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 will become the trainers.

RDM is currently working on an accreditation for the eight stage training programme in collaboration with Gower College (UWTSD) it is hoped that the training programme will be a recognised training programme and stepping stone to employment with other businesses, as well as ROOF®.

RDM is a Disability Confident Employer (2014 to date), awarded by JCP.


Collaboration comes in many forms and we welcome all contributors and contributions.

Why would you want to be a part of ROOF®? If you have to ask, then we already know its not a good fit.

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.

Sheltersuit is running a project with a similar mission in Enschede (Netherlands) - read all about our visit 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® was presented to a group of BCorp businesses in September 2016 and received a great deal support and several offers of assistance in moving things forward once production was underway. It should be said that RDM has no intention of becoming a BCorp but there are many connections worth following up.


Work is under way with The Wallich to collaborate on the acquisition and occupation of an open plan creative space / workshop / industrial unit in which to develop, grow and launch the ROOF project.

This facility will be located in Swansea (central) and be consumer, staff and client base friendly. 

A service level agreement is yet to be signed off but in principle, the following will apply:

In principle:

  1. The Wallich will supply a suitable premises in central Swansea to accommodate RDM in all its production activities.
  2. RDM will pay a peppercorn rent for use of said premises
  3. RDM will continue to run its business including production, sales and marketing autonomously and separate to the Wallich charity
  4. RDM will recruit, train and rehabilitate Wallich service users / clients with a view to employment either within RDM or externally.
  5. RDM will continue to recruit, train and rehabilitate those people referred to the training programme via established routes
  6. Share of utilities to be decided
  7. No rates payable
  8. The Wallich and RDM to agree to a basis for partnership, stability and expansion
  9. Use of Wallich infrastructure – marketing, PR, branding etc…..?
  10. etc (To be completed by the Wallich and RDM).

Challenge Wales and RDM partnered up in early 2017 to promote their mutual social mission and enabling of people of every age through skills, empowerment and adventure. 

RDM’s proven business model and social mission rehabilitates those who may have previously been excluded from mainstream employment routes through a soon to be accredited eight stage training schedule.   Since launch in January 2014, c.100 people have been empowered in this way.

The Challenge Wales adventure is one of the incredible life-changing opportunities available and reward for those rehabilitated through and working with RDM in return for which Red Dragon Flagmakers under the RDM umbrella company supplies the ensigns, courtesy flags, branded insignia and livery for the Challenge Wales vessel to ensure that wherever she sails and berths, she represents Wales proudly and dressed appropriately.

Click HERE to read more on Challenge Wales.

  1. CLINICAL TRIALS - UWTSD (University of Wales Trinity St David)

UWTSD is currently formulating a sequence of ‘clinical trials’ to underpin the value of the product and the project. We are developing a monitorable case study procedure, IP and product rights formation, tensile strength and fit for purposes research studies. is the monitoring system under consideration.

The ROOF® product is a generic product and may not be able to be design patented on its own but with the ROOF® brand name registered and the concept of the 'history tag' serial numbers integral to the design, plus a lifetime guarantee of repairs, there may still be scope for copyright.

At a meeting held at UWTSD (Cadogan Conf Rm on 24th May 2017), the following was agreed:

  • Peter and Luca to develop ASTUTE project to carry out the tensile and thermo testing (supported by Juan)
  • Graham to look at the development of a Test Plan – internship with Tom/Andrew?
  • Juan and Nik to further explore ideas for life logging and product lifecycle
  • Nik/Lisa  to speak to Kemi/Gaynor/Gary about web apps for monitoring the usage (movement and environmental conditions) – this may require a follow up meeting with Wallich.
  • Sarah to speak to A&D re an internship or project related to the branding
  • Lisa to send Jo information on SMART Partnerships
  • Lisa/Dylan to follow up with Tania/Amanda re user experience research
  • Jo to seek independent advice on IP - actioned (030717)

Intellectual Property Rights 

Business Wales ROOF IP support

The Wales Cooperative Centre have agreed to fund 7x hours of consultation on IP rights and issues for ROOF. A meeting is pending.


  • The Welsh Regiment have agreed to road test ROOF® on military exercise in extreme conditions.
  • Several dozen ROOF® samples to be made and donated to members of the local homeless community, those most in need and in particular those who want to participate in the first cohort of the ROOF® journey and programme.  
  • Samples to be sent to BCorp, Social Enterprise contacts for testing, feedback and alteration. 
  • Commercial applications include:  military, camping, festival goers, mountaineering, refugee and humanitarian

    RDM has the machinery, the core trainer staff, social media, press, a core customer database and majority of skills required to get the project going and is currently working on the following:

    • Additional value adding Trustee Directors
    • A suitable and realistically affordable creative space in which to deliver the product and the project and which is client and service user friendly.
      • Close to the City Centre in a non industrial area.
      • Private, accessible, light and airy, a non conformist space.
      • A safe place.
      • Kitchen and quiet time areas.
      • Light industrial planning permission to accommodate sewing machines, cutting tables, walls for projected art and design, storage for paper patterns, fabrics (all fabrics are fire retardant).
      • Office space.
      • Open plan.
    • Alignment with credible, established, homeless community-focused businesses / recruitment channels / agencies - to benefit all parties equally through positive social outcomes. 
    • RDM has to date been wholly reliant on revenue and income from sales. We are now making applications for external funding through grants, donations, philanthropic investment and donations.
    • A crowd funding fund raiser will be launched by June/July 2017 to raise capital to make the first batch of ROOF products in its basic format – these will be used in the clinical trials and to demonstrate the project to investors and collaborators.

    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
      • Unicef
      • Oxfam
    • Army, armed forces
      • Welsh Regiment already on board
    • Festival goers
      • Head of volunteers at Glastonbury already on board
    • Camping applications
      • Fashionista
      • Glamping – Bell Tent UK is interested
    • Mountain and other rescue services

    Social innovation

    Interesting article from NESTA published recently - click here to read

    Intellectual Property

    ROOF® is a registered trademark with product design patent pending under review.

    roof  roof  roof roof






    Poler napsack

    and another project we've been introduced to is: which coordinates fundraising, collection and distribution of warm clothing to homeless communities in the UK and Canada.

    Canada Goose

    Wully Outerwear:

    Wully outerwear




    (source:  The Telegraph, 13th January 2017)


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