Citrus Ornge, an award-winning digital marketing company, on an incredible mission with a difference. Up to 50% of their workforce are people in recovery or ex-offenders.

A recent YouGov poll which was conducted for Addiction Awareness Week (18-24th October 2021) on attitudes towards addiction found that “64% of people in the UK know someone with an addiction.” Of those respondents, “42% went on to say they had little or no knowledge of addiction and the cause and effects it has on the individual and those around them.”

While significant gains have been made in reducing the taboo around other health conditions, progress has been somewhat slower when it comes to removing the stigma surrounding drug and alcohol abuse. Sadly, people with addiction continue to be blamed for their disease as opposed to treating it like any other disease.

Looking again at the YouGov poll, “77% of respondents said that addiction should be treated like any other mental health condition, with greater levels of investment in effective care and treatment.” It is important to remember that recovery doesn’t stop once someone gains access to the care and support they need to get clean, it is an life-long process with the early stages gearing towards the aim of reintegrating back into societies norms.

Citrus Ornge’s Social Mission is a progressive charge in the fight against the stigma that surrounds addiction. Since their launch in 2018, they’ve:

Grown their core team with a current size of approximately 13 staff members.
Helped 15 people through their social mission to achieve permanent full or part-time work as key members of staff, board members or freelancers.
Recently relocated into their own office space, right in the centre of Brighton’s quirky and trendy south Laines.

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.”

We caught up with Jason, who was thrilled to be able to tell us the story of how Citrus’s White paper came together to help develop further their incredible Social Mission and how his team can help your business to create a social mission of your very own.

At Citrus Ornge, we specifically look to help those, with the required skill sets, who need it the most. By working with us, it won’t be just your business that grows, but our awesome social mission too.

Growth, growth, growth
We’re always looking to grow and improve, so over this past summer we appointed Rifka Fehr, a Social Impact Researcher from the University of Sussex, to have a look at our existing social mission and dig deep to helps us identify what works, and what areas we could improve on to ensure that we can continue to sustainably provide a safe work environment with the appropriate support in place. 

The ingredients:
As the expression goes, if you want to hear from a reliable source or on the best authority, it’s best to “hear it from the horse’s mouth” and that’s exactly what Rifa did. Both qualitative and quantitative investigations were undertaken through the mediums of interviews and surveys across the board:

HR Board Advisor
Both current and ex-employees

Not withholding anything back, Rifka dived into the various wider elements of the business, including wellbeing, diversity, performance management and wider impact to analyse the cause and effect these had on our social mission.

We’re always future facing…
To ensure the wheel is always turning, Rifka implemented an ongoing process of reflection which will allow us to regular reassess our contribution to any changes we make going forward. This Model of Change was completed in the form of a 30-page white paper and two- page summary. This was later presented to the team and its feedback incorporated into our social mission by our board.

Does your business have a social mission?
After all her incredibly hard work, Rifka re-joined us in the office to create an external report in the hope to inspire other companies (like yours) to take on a social mission. In this report you’ll find some key findings and the current recommendations we think you should implement in your business to help you grow. Your social mission doesn’t have to be the same as ours of course, but we hope this paves the way for more businesses to adopt a fair and equal employment opportunity system, with jobs being made available to those, without judgement, who need it the most.

Want to find out more?
If you want to find out more about Citrus Ornge’s Social Mission or some key findings and current recommendations to help your business grow, be sure to check out their White Paper report or get in touch with the team directly.