Today XO Bikes(xobikes.com), the not-for-profit bike workshop, launches XO Bikes built by Ex-Offenders campaign to raise awareness of the work they do, helping stop the cycle of reoffending by giving ex-offenders jobs that will change their lives for good, with the help of agency of record, VCCP and its content production studio, Girl&Bear.
The campaign comes as 65,000 individuals are released from prison every year but nearly half (48 percent) of them end up reoffending within 12 months. This costs the economy £18bn a year, while the human cost is even greater to the victims of crimes, the offenders themselves, their prospects, their families, friends, and communities.
The main driver for reoffending is unemployment, with research showing that prison leavers are 70% less likely to reoffend if employed, yet 75% of businesses will not employ them. The longer it continues the greater the barrier it is to overcome, which leads to self-belief decreasing, hope dying, and any core employability skills becoming rapidly outdated.
XO Bikes aims to give people a secure platform on which to rebuild their lives upon release. They help ex offenders grow in confidence and increase their self-esteem, find purpose and pride in their work and most importantly build towards a reliable and legal income.
VCCP, Girl&Bear and XO Bikes have created a bold OOH campaign designed to show how ex offenders can get the skills they need to stay out of prison for good with help from photographer, Lol Keegan, and retouchers, Stanley's Post. The creative show red and white optimistic copy juxtaposing the dark prison-style imagery and bike parts. The campaign is supported by Clear Channel who is providing free outdoor media coverage for the non-for-profit to spread its campaign message.
Stef Jones founder of XO Bikes said: “I started this charity after I noticed a pattern when it came to reoffenders. They all had the same story, they could not get a job and this was demoralising. No one would give them a chance so they turned back to a life of crime. Research has shown that if people are given an opportunity they have a better chance of turning their life around and that is what we are trying to do at XO Bikes.”
Jim Thornton, Executive Creative Director at VCCP added: “Stef has created something so brilliant with XO Bikes, we wanted to create some work for the launch that was equally brilliant. And, rather modestly, we think we’ve done exactly that.”
XO Bikes runs a bike mechanic training programme that gives trainees an industry recognised qualification. They work on bikes donated by the public and the police. The refurbished bikes are then sold, with the income used to pay mechanics’ wages. Since its launch in 2022, 640 bikes have been donated and 367 have been refurbished. A full e-commerce site is up and running, alongside a regular six weeks training programme. XO Bikes has trained 14 prison leavers to become professional bike mechanics. All bikes are fully refurbished to the Velotech Standard by a prison leaver, and all profits from bike sales go towards training and hiring more people coming out of prison.
The founder Stef Jones previously worked at HHCL and Big Al’s before becoming the founder of the charity Onwards & Upwards and establishing XO Bikes and he is now joined by ex-VCCP Ian Priest, who has become the CEO of the not-for-profit venture. Stef and Ian are now on a mission to help ex-offenders turn their lives around.
The campaign runs from today in OOH until the end of May. Clear Channel is providing all of the media support.
Stef has created something so brilliant with XO Bikes, we wanted to create some work for the launch that was equally brilliant. And, rather modestly, we think we’ve done exactly that Jim Thornton, Executive Creative Director at VCCP