Dave Nicholson

Location: England, Greater Manchester, Manchester Speciality: Prison Service, Third Sector, Coaching and Training

Dave founded Ex-Cell Solutions as an ex-offender-led worker cooperative providing mutual aid, real, paid employment and accommodation services for women returning from HMP Styal to Manchester and men released to Manchester from all UK prisons.

Ex-Cell recruited, trained, supported and coordinated the work of ex-offender volunteer Peer Mentors to work with service users to promote and develop mutual aid solutions to reducing re-offending, particularly supporting the development of ex-offender-led cooperatives and social enterprises.

He also led on Ex-Cell’s Consultancy Services on a three year contract with the Ministry of Justice in partnership with Cooperative and Mutual Solutions Ltd (CMS) (www.cms.coop) promoting and evaluating social enterprise and mutual aid solutions to reducing reoffending throughout the Criminal Justice System.

This work involved a national strategic review and evaluation of Prison Industries, promotion and development of ‘through the prison gate’ social enterprises and cooperatives with Prisons and Probation Trusts across England and Wales and social enterprise and cooperative development work with  VCSE Sector agencies working in prisons.

During 2013-2014 Dave also worked in partnership with CMS and others on a Cabinet Office Mutuals Support Programme contract providing  consultancy services to Kent and Surrey and Sussex Probation Trusts on mutualising their services. This  involved an evaluation of their services and research and development of new and redesigned desistance-based rehabilitation and  resettlement services based on a mutual aid approach, in order to develop a Probation Public Service  Mutual co-owned by staff, offenders and ex-offenders and their families, victims, volunteers and local community representatives.

The service re-design which Dave led on has since then attracted the attention of the Probation Inspectorate as an example of innovative good practice in offender involvement in planning and delivering their own rehabilitation services.

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This work has been the culmination of an extensive career involving many roles and projects. Dave has worked as a volunteer in the following organisations:

  • Business Development Consultant with Church Action on Poverty.
  • Director Foundations Stockport Community Benefit Society.
  • Director (Chair since 2017) The Social Enterprise Research and Innovation Foundation.
  • Founder member, Cooperatives UK Social Cooperative Development Forum for England.
  • North West Coordinator, Restore Support Network
  • Trustee, UNLOCK – independent charity for people with convictions.
  • Member Cooperatives UK Business Development Panel.
  • Chair of Board of Greater Manchester Community Chaplaincy.
  • Director and Company Secretary Manchester Aspire Ltd  Multi-stakeholder social cooperative trading as Recycle-IT.
  • Member of the South Regional Board, Manchester Methodist Housing Group.
  • Company Director Unity Products Ltd – Social Enterprise.
  • Company Director Moss Side Community Build – Social Enterprise.
  • Company Director, Firmstart (Manchester) Ltd.
  • Company Director, Tools for Self Reliance – Charitable Trust.
  • Company Director, Churches Workscheme Ltd Moss Side Manchester.
  • Secretary, South Manchester Welfare Rights Project.
  • Member of Management Committee, Hulme Peoples Rights Centre.

He has also been employed in the following roles.

  • Head of Resettlement, Commitment in Communities Ltd
  • Managing Director, Aspire in Manchester Social Enterprise Ltd.
  • Director, The Social Economy Development Unit.
  • Offender Employment Consultant, Apex Charitable Trust.
  • Economic Development Consultant, Food and Futures Co-operative.
  • Senior Research Associate, Centre for Employment Research, Manchester Polytechnic.
  • Community Service Officer, Greater Manchester Probation Service.
  • Youth and Community Worker, Hideaway Youth Project, Moss Side, Manchester.
  • Clerical Assistant, DHSS, Rusholme, Manchester.

Dave is a man that can be trusted to look after the interests of those lucky enough to work with him.

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