Oxford Direct Services (ODS) is partnering with Blackbird Leys based RAW on two major construction projects for Oxford City Council, the Museum of Oxford's refurbishment and the redevelopment of Floyds Row, to ensure the development of the sites generates maximum social value and environmental benefit.
Over 70 per cent of RAW’s workforce will have faced disadvantage and prejudice, including those with a history of offending or addiction, those who have had mental health problems and those with learning or physical disabilities. RAW’s mission is, through providing commercially competitive high-quality products and services, to prove that nobody should be judged by their past. Their operations include indoor and outdoor furniture manufacture, waste wood recycling services, a retail unit and a grounds maintenance service.
Cllr Nigel Chapman, Oxford City Council's Cabinet Member for Safer Communities and Customer Focused Services, said: "I very much welcome this partnership. RAW is an amazing organisation providing inspiration where otherwise there would be none. ODS and Oxford City Council are committed to promoting sustainability and reducing inequality. Working with RAW mirrors both organisations' values by supporting the community, tacking inequality and producing products made from sustainable materials.
"ODS should be commended for supporting the Council's goals to increase sustainability and reduce inequality. Their positive commitment to working with RAW means we are both supporting an organisation that is making a real difference to local disadvantaged people.
“I hope this is just the start of a working relationship that will go from strength to strength."
RAW Managing Director, Rick Mower, said: "We’re a driven and competitive social business. We trade against other organisations like any other company in the market. The difference is that we also create life-changing opportunities for people and drive better environmental outcomes. More and more customers are seeing the value in that and we’re delighted to be working with Oxford Direct Services."
Ian Batchelor, Oxford Direct Services’ Director of construction, said: “We are delighted to be associated with RAW and look forward to working with them on many projects going forward. We support their values and aims in delivering a real impact on the environment and giving employment opportunities through our joint enterprise."
One of the projects that RAW will be involved in reclaiming and recycling wood from, will be the Museum of Oxford refurbishment. The refurbishment will increase the museum space in the Town Hall to accommodate new exhibitions and increase visitor numbers. Additionally RAW has started on reclaiming wood from Floyds Row, in preparation for the building's conversion into an engagement hub for homeless people.
For more, visit the RAW website.