CashBack’s Michael Rebounds from Redundancy
Wed 20th December 2023
Michael Bowden completed the Rangers Charity Foundation’s CashBack for Communities – Towards New Futures programme in 2021. He successfully applied for a job but unfortunately was made redundant earlier this year.
The Foundation’s Cashback For Communities programme aims to re-engage young people with current or past convictions and help them move towards a more positive future including work, volunteering, training and further education.
As part of the course Foundation staff keep in touch with all graduates to ensure that they are continuing their positive trajectory. This involves periodic check-ins and updates with previous participants.
Thanks to the Foundation’s CashBack aftercare availability, Michael was able to get back in touch and advise his situation had changed and he was now looking for another job. Thankfully Michael has been able to find employment once again and thanked Foundation staff and the CashBack programme for being able to do so.
Speaking about the aftercare process Michael said: “When I lost my job knowing that I could contact the Foundation and come back here was really important because there’s not many other places like that, where you can go back somewhere and get help again and you’re not being left to things yourself, but Andy and Ross took time out of their days to help me and I really appreciate that.”
“The aftercare part of CashBack is really approachable because as soon as I got in contact with the staff, they were more than happy to help.”
The CashBack programme is delivered within Ibrox Stadium by CashBack Coordinator Andy Gordon and Community Executive, Ross Lyon. It works in partnership with four Scottish prisons and Govan Thriving Place (as well as other referral routes) to target and support a variety of young people aged 16 – 24 from the local area and beyond.
The programme is free and is run four days per week for eight weeks.
Michael also took time to reflect on his previous experience with CashBack. Speaking about the first time he attended he said: “At the time I wasn’t really engaging with school or college or anything and I thought to myself ‘why not’ because it should help with things that could help me get a job and qualifications and things like that.”
“I found that I was treated more like an adult in here which I found really helpful, and it made learning a bit easier for me. It also really helped me get out and meet other people instead of sitting in the house and things like that.”
“Being able to get those qualifications the first-time round was really helpful in loads of ways. It was obviously something that I could work towards and that would help me improve my CV and help me with applying for jobs, but it also gave me something to get out of bed for and motivate myself for.”
Speaking about Michael’s journey and engagement with programme Cashback Coordinator, Andy Gordon said: “In CashBack, we provide an aftercare service, which involves reaching out to past participants, either myself or Ross, to check on their progress and see if they need further support. Unfortunately, during this period, Michael informed me that he was being made redundant and would need assistance in finding new employment.”
“The decision was made to reengage Michael in the ongoing CashBack course, providing us with a good opportunity to further improve his CV throughout this time. Michael was eager to quickly return to work, and we reached out to one of our outstanding partners, Buchan Orthotics, who informed us about some modern apprenticeships which were available in a closely related industry to his previous position.”
“We then discussed the opportunity with Michael, which he was very receptive towards. Michael attended an interview and was then offered a month’s trial before being offered a permanent full-time contract – where he is now again flourishing.”
When asked what he would say to anyone that had the opportunity to attend the CashBack programme Michael said: “I’d definitely recommend coming here because you get real help. They’ll help you look for jobs, apply for jobs, help you with your CV and get qualifications and that will all stand you in good stead and obviously being able to keep in touch goes a long way too.”
“If I didn’t come here I’d probably just be sitting in the house doing nothing and not really bothering about doing anything but I’m glad that’s not how things have worked out and I’ve got CashBack to thank for that.”
CashBack for Communities is a unique Scottish Government programme which takes funds recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and invests them into community programmes, facilities and activities largely aimed at diverting young people at risk away from potentially criminal or anti-social behaviour.
The next CashBack course begins on 15th January 2024. To register your interest or find out more about the programme, email Andy Gordon via AndyGordon@rangers.co.uk.