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Gareth @Saltbox

Working in our Property and Maintenance team

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This week we caught up with Chris Lowey who is the Senior Maintenance Worker in our Restart service. Chris tells us about his time working with Saltbox and also what a typical day looks like. To keep up to date with potential vacancies in our property team please see our jobs page, here.


What is your background and how long have you been with Saltbox?
My background is in property maintenance and high-level logistics. I have been with Saltbox for approximately six months.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I am the Senior Maintenance Worker so my day starts with organising the maintenance and domestic teams with their work for the day including any collection of materials. I then go on to the paperwork side of my role that includes times sheets, job sheets, and daily / weekly updateable live documents. I then go out on repairs and maintenance issues that are not covered by the team for that day and also any emergency call outs. I also cover potential new property visits and have daily meetings with fellow management to discuss any issues or improvements.

What’s the most rewarding thing about the job you do?
The most rewarding part of my job is the variety of work that we carry out and also seeing and speaking to some of the clients we have in service. We have some real characters and they make some of the not so nice jobs not so bad after all.

What would you say to someone who is interested in joining the team?
If you are looking for a job where no two days are ever the same and want to work with an organisation that actually cares about you and wants you to succeed then look no further. Yes, you may occasionally have a bad day but working for Saltbox you can guarantee that there will always be someone you can talk to and will cheer you up. I gave up my own lucrative business to come and work for Saltbox and I can honestly say it was the best decision I have ever made when it comes to a career with a future.


P.R.I.S.M Awards Ceremony – April 2019

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Earlier this month we attended Restart’s P.R.I.S.M awards ceremony and caught up with Client Development Officer, Steve McDonald, who told us what it was all about.

What is P.R.I.S.M and how long has it been going for?
P.R.I.S.M is a 12-week motivational programme designed to address behaviours, bad choices and habits. It’s based on the concept of transparency & honesty, and how that by being so will help a person access the proper help and support they may need with their issues. The programme has been going for approximately two years now and was initially used in the drug service to address substance misuse issues. Since February 2019 Restart has seen two groups successfully graduate the full course and a further two groups are currently in progress. We also have a new group due to start on the 25th.

What’s happening at today’s ceremony?
The ceremony is a chance to celebrate all who complete the course. They receive their certificates and P.R.I.S.M keyrings. Some will have family members attending to witness the presentation.

What are your long term aspirations for P.R.I.S.M? / What’s happening next?
P.R.I.S.M hopefully will roll out and be offered not only to all those who reside in a Restart property wishing to find motivation but also within our local communities. Long term it is a way of people connecting and making positive steps to change. Watch this space!


Restart Recreational Activity Day – Fast Lane Karting

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Thanks to funding from the Lichfield Diocese we have been given the opportunity to run and engage in a series of recreational activity days with our Restart clients. Our first trip back in March 2018 saw us attend Zip World Slate Caverns in Wales. This time around a mix of clients and staff attended Fast Lane Karting in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent.

“The trip went really well” said Restart Chaplain and organiser Thomas Simm “It has played a substantial role in not only broadening horizons but building strong relationships between us and our clients. I would strongly advocate for more such trips going forward”

Restart Recreational Activity Day – ‘The Titan’

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The purpose of our Restart service is to assist those previously labelled as an ‘offender’, helping them rehabilitate and reintegrate back into society. We recognise that our clients have, in a lot of cases, experienced a lifetime of personal challenges. Our goal is to do everything we can to help them get their lives back on track as valued members of society. Our dedicated Restart team provide support and guidance on a daily basis, whether that be through housing advice, employability training and life skills development.

Recently, we had the opportunity to take this a step further and do something a little different for our clients. In March 2018, eight of our service users enjoyed a recreational activity day at ‘Zip World Slate Caverns’ in Wales.

We pick up with Saltbox’s Restart Chaplain and organiser, Thomas Simm.

“Earlier this year Saltbox received a grant from the Lichfield Diocese Growth Fund. The grant allowed us to take clients who typically come from a poverty-stricken background in Stoke-on-Trent to a similar location elsewhere in the UK. It’s important to remember some of our clients haven’t really been outside of Stoke before so the aim here really was to broaden their horizons”

And what better way to do this than on ‘The Titan’ – currently the largest zip line zone in Europe – located at Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales. The group was able to enjoy some stunning views while sailing over 2,000 metres across the Welsh mountains and quarry.

“We wanted our clients to experience some new frontiers” says Thomas, “And by flying over the top for the world at up to 40mph they certainly got a different perspective”

“We chose clients who had been engaging well with the Restart service and who we felt would benefit from the trip. From our perspective, it was also an opportunity to build closer relationships outside of the usual service environment.”

Tom, who worked in the prison service for several years prior to joining Saltbox in February 2017, is a firm believer in Restart’s support and rehabilitation work.

“Nobody is born to commit a crime. In most cases, circumstances have dictated the choices people have made. At Restart, we aim to get their lives back on track, open doors and help them realise their potential. It’s all about helping individuals grow in both humanity and education, develop life skills and positive social interaction”.

We asked Thomas if he hoped to see more trips further down the line.

“The trip to Wales went down extremely well. We all really enjoyed it and the clients appreciated the opportunity. It’s the first time we’ve done something like this and we’d welcome similar opportunities going forward. Perhaps go-karting or something similar. That would be very popular with the service users.”

Saltbox’s Restart Director, Gill Butler said “The guys that went on the trip had a great day and were all buzzing when they got back, it was great to see.  We are keen to continue with this sort of activity because we feel it is important that our clients feel valued. I may even go along to the next activity to give them a run for their money!”

To find out more about Saltbox’s Restart service, and how it helps to reintegrate individuals back into society, please visit our new website –