Founded in May 2018, Citrus Ornge is a specialist performance marketing, technology, and publishing business. Whilst Citrus Ornge specialises in high-end B2B & B2C demand generation, the business also has a social mission at its heart, which is to offer employment and work placement opportunities to ex-offenders and people in recovery. Our aim is for 50% of the staff team coming through the social mission. The social mission is incorporated in the memorandum of the business.
Citrus Ornge’s key objectives are:
- To support individuals in their quest to rebuild their careers while recovering from alcoholism.
- To promote a healthy reintegration into society to those who otherwise may have struggled in this process while either recovering from addiction or from a difficult legal past through mentoring, guidance and work experience.
- To give the team the space for growth within the company, and to make everyone feel like they are the leader of their own destiny within the business.
- Since the company’s inception in 2018, Citrus has provided employment for 15 people in recovery. Moreover, the 50% target has almost always been fulfilled in the last three years. By aiming for and achieving the 50% target, Citrus Ornge is challenging the taboo of employing people who either have a criminal record or who have experienced addiction.
- To inspire and pave the way for other businesses to create a similar social mission and break taboos.
“The people at Citrus are quite special to be around. By that I mean their empathy, kindness, compassion, understanding, and I saw a lot of that at Citrus. The people came to that organisation knowing that it had a social mission. So, people possess that common humanity from the outset.” -Carmen, Previous team coach.
Why it is important to break the taboos of hiring individuals who have been through recovery or are ex-offenders?
Employment plays a key role in supporting recovery. Getting and keeping a job is a top objective for people in treatment, alongside ‘getting clean’ In addition, being employed introduces people to new social environments without substance misuse and creates a distance between them and negative associations. These are all factors boosting recovery that combat the ever present risk of relapse. One study found that during the first six months after treatment for alcohol
misuse, 45% of those who were unemployed relapsed, compared to 23% of the employed. Concluding that employment is a vital part of recovery. Concluding, employment is a vital part of recovery.
According to Sussex Pathways (2021) (an organisation that supports people leaving prison to successfully resettle in society), 48 per cent of offenders are reconvicted within one year of release from prison. Reoffending rates are greatly influenced by whether a person ends up working or not. Employment is often quoted as the most important factor in helping to reduce reoffending.
Jason Baker, CEO of Citrus Ornge, commented: “As a recovering alcoholic, I had the idea for the social mission when looking for ways to be of service to the recovery community. I was driven by my memory of how hard it was to find suitable employment opportunities in the early weeks and months of my recovery. Also, how daunting and challenging returning to work was due to my feelings of low self-esteem, confidence and lack of belief in my abilities. These traits are the typical features of early recovery, and the work we do can offer a safe and rewarding space for those reintegrating back into society.”