SE100 Business Profile: Team Players

Every quarter we’ll take a look at one of the social ventures in the NatWest SE100 Index. Proving sport can be a force for good is Bristol's 2nd Chance Group.

At a time when FIFA is being accused of corruption and doping allegations have rocked the athletics world, it’s refreshing to know there is still a place where sport is making a positive impact. 2nd Chance Group is using sport to transform the justice sector and reduce youth unemployment.

Seven years ago founder James Mapstone left his post as a prison physical education manager in favour of the somewhat less secure career path of social entrepreneur. His idea was to use the power of sport to reduce levels of reoffending among individuals preparing to be released from prison. In order to do so, Mapstone set up a Community Interest Company (CIC).

He reflects: “I had never even thought about running a business so it was certainly a culture shock at first. When you work in a prison you almost feel as though you are locked up too. Even when you go home, your head is still in prison mode – you’re so wrapped up in that community. Suddenly setting up the business meant functioning in the outside.”

The Bristol-based social enterprise runs several different initiatives including its ‘Training Academy’, which provides skills training and study programmes for young adults not in education, employment or training. It also helps them find apprenticeships and jobs in the sports and leisure sector. Alongside that is ‘Justice Solutions’, which involves developing and delivering sports and leadership programmes in prisons and communities to reduce recidivism.

NatWest SE100 Index vital statistics:

Reach (2013/14) 3,863 members signed up to programmes
Turnover (2013/14) £387,261
Net profit (2013/14) £17,159
Considering social investment? Yes


2nd Chance has also developed programmes for not-for-profit organisations in Israel and the West Bank, “where we brought Israelis and Palestinians together through cricket” and in Jamaica, where the team helped establish the Courtney Walsh Foundation “to help young people living in the tough, often violent communities around Kingston” stay away from a life of crime and direct their energy into sport.

Mapstone explains that over the past three years approximately 65-70% of the CIC’s revenue has come from trading activities as a sub-contractor to colleges and prisons. “We’ve learnt by doing and at times got things wrong but kept moving forward and remained focussed on our mission to use the power of sport to inspire positive change,” says Mapstone.

Back in 2008 Mapston was just a one-man band “sitting in an empty office in jeans and flip flops”, but now the 2nd Chance Group employs 15 people. This is still a relatively modest number considering the wide variety of initiatives the CIC runs because “a lot of work is done in partnership with other organisations as results are often better this way”.

To ensure the enterprise would be sustainable it was vital to evidence the results of 2nd Chance programmes. Initially the team worked with an academic from Southampton University to evaluate their impact. They’ve also collaborated with the charity Clinks to build the evidence base showing the impact of using sport in the desistance of crime.

Mapstone says that being a young manager at the time Serco entered the justice sector has helped him “think big”. His next project is to establish the National Alliance of Sport for the Desistance of Crime, which will become a national voice and membership body for organisations using the power of sport in the justice system. Big thinking indeed. 


This article was originally published in Pioneers Post Quarterly, the printed edition of this magazine. To find out more about PPQ, including how to subscribe, click here.

Photo credit: 2nd Chance Group