Wednesday, August 17, 2022

News: Rotherham enterprise launches first range of ethically produced soaps


A community interest company in Rotherham, which is embarking upon a long-term mission to support some of the region’s most vulnerable people, has launched its first range of hand-made soaps.

The new product range marks a significant milestone for Parkgate-based Labre’s Hope, which was founded by young entrepreneurs Aaron Probert and Joash Nelson Piercy earlier this year in a bid to provide vital support to tackle long-term homelessness as well as offering a unique chance for individuals who have found themselves living on the streets to rebuild their lives.

Since March, Labre’s Hope has been working in close collaboration with the South Yorkshire Housing Association and homeless charity Crisis. The company has successfully supported 18 people and currently employs 13 members of staff, all of whom have been affected by homelessness.

Each employee not only receives a living wage to help them secure a home of their own, they are also supported by weekly coaching and wellbeing sessions to help them learn the skills needed to enjoy a clean start to their lives. Face-to-face employment support is also provided to help them realise their career goals.

The first range of soaps will feature five different scents designed to help relax, reinvigorate and refresh and are manufactured using plant-based sustainably sourced materials. The soaps are specially formulated to be gentle to the skin and avoid using products that are harmful to the environment such as palm oil, commonly used in soap production. As a finishing touch, the packaging of each bar of soap is signed by its maker, creating a connection between consumer and producer.

Following the launch, the soaps will be available from the company’s Parkgate-based headquarters as well as available via the company’s website. Aaron Probert hopes that the new product range will help to raise awareness of the complex issues surrounding homelessness.

Aaron Probert, Founder, Labre’s Hope, said: “The launch of our first product range is a significant milestone for Labre’s Hope and the result of many months of planning, development and preparation. When we launched the business in March, it was our long-term vision to rethink the way we view homelessness, by not only addressing the root causes that can result in someone losing their home but crucially, equipping those we support with the vital skills to help them to rebuild their lives.

Many people who find themselves homeless are often trapped in a vicious circle, which can prevent them from returning to the workforce. However, homelessness is a complex issue and we recognised that it was vital to create a supportive environment, which not only provides a chance to learn new skills, but crucially, provides emotional and mental health support. I am hopeful that Labre’s Hope will illustrate that businesses can play an important role when it comes to supporting some of the most vulnerable members of society, and if successful, we hope to roll out our business model across the UK in the future.”

Labre’s Hope was founded by Aaron Probert and Joash Nelson Piercy in March 2022. Aaron first began developing his ideas whilst studying towards his business degree, and his plan was the result of a chance encounter with a homeless woman who was forced to leave the family home after experiencing domestic abuse, leading to alcohol dependency as a way to escape her problems and social isolation. The experience led Aaron to develop a new business model, which placed social accountability at the heart of entrepreneurship.

The result of Aaron’s work was Labre’s Hope. The company is named after Benedict Labre, a Franciscan monk who turned his back on his affluent family background to adopt the life of a pilgrim, travelling to holy sites across Europe on foot and subsisting by relying on the kindness of strangers. He was canonised following his death and is now regarded as being the patron saint of homelessness.

Labre’s Hope was launched in March 2022 and has secured more than half a million pounds through the government’s Community Renewal Fund and is part funded by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.

Labre’s Hope website

Images: Labre's Hope


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