Bright Future Co-op, formed in 2020 to help fast-track survivors of modern slavery into stable, high quality employment, has reappointed anti-slavery charity Causeway to run its National Matching Service for three more years.
In 2018, the Global Slavery Index estimated there were around 40.3 million individuals caught in modern slavery. In the UK, official estimates say there are 10,000 people in forced labour – in places such as car washes, brothels, nail bars and restaurants – although many campaigners say the figure is much higher.
To help tackle the crisis, the original Bright Future scheme was created by Causeway and Co-op Group in 2017 as a way of supporting survivors of modern slavery through a paid work experience scheme with the chance of permanent employment. It was designed to help vulnerable people avoid the barriers that made them nervous about re-joining the workforce, such as lengthy job applications or formal interviews.
Bright Future then developed into an independent co-operative in 2020 and appointed Causeway to run its National Matching System (NMS) which helps place candidates with prospective employers.
The co-op currently has 33 members. These include 20 organisations in the programme who refer their service users, and 13 business members offering employment opportunities, from several sectors. Businesses taking part include the Co-op Group, Midcounties Co-op, Currys, Pilgrims, Balfour Beatty, Greencore and Morrisons.
Bright Future’s board is made up of volunteers from some of these members. To date 77 people have found stable work through Bright Future. An open tender process that ended on 23 January saw Causeway reappointed to run the NMS at the heart of the co-op’s operations until April 2026.
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Speaking on behalf of Bright Future Co-op, Alison Scowen said: “The quality of submissions received to run the NMS was high. It was encouraging to speak to a number of organisations who really understood what we’re trying to achieve and wanted to get involved. We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to submit a proposal.
“Over the coming years we’ll be looking to deliver more placements, more efficiently and for more survivors. We’ll also look to encourage survivors who have completed a Bright Future Co-op placement to get involved in the running of the Co-operative.”
Pete Westall, chair of Bright Future, added: “The huge impact this co-operative has had with facilitating employment for survivors of modern slavery has been built on the engagement of businesses; referral partners, the survivors themselves, and importantly with the National Matching Service.
“Causeway have provided this service to Bright Future Co-op since June 2020. I am delighted that they have been re-appointed, following a robust and through open tender process, to continue to provide this service for the next three years. The board looks forward to working with them, and all our members, to continue to provide help and opportunity to give those in need the chance to rebuild their lives.”
Causeway’s Bright Future Co-op manager Mischa Macaskill said: “I am so thankful that the board has trusted Causeway and believes in our vision for the co-op. We are extremely proud of the 77 placements we have supported candidates through and are looking forward to the growth of the programme.
“This is a very exciting time as we continue to diversify the roles on offer to candidates. As more businesses get involved in becoming Bright Future employers it means that survivors get more choices in their accessible route to employment.”
If you would like to find out how to get involved in Bright Future Co-op, get in touch with the team at [email protected].
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