IT BEGAN in the slums of Philippines to help children escape life in the ghetto.

Now the Purple Community Fund (PCF) is using the same ideology to reform some the UK’s toughest criminals as well as helping asylum seekers adapt to life in Hampshire. 

Founded by Jane Walker MBE more than a decade ago, The Purple Community Fund is a revision of the Philippine Community Fund, which was established to help children escape their fate of living on the notorious Manila dumpsites.

The Purple fund is, as in the Philippines, working with the most marginalised people by providing life-changing skills and qualifications – in hopes of offering them a better future. 

Business development manager at the not-for-profit charity, Claire Salerno said: “I believe everyone should be given the opportunity to have a second chance and they need to have skills to make the most of the second chance.”

At present the organisation is being piloted at Eastwood Park prison in Gloucestershire and HM Prison Isle of Wight. 

Inmates can apply to become part of the voluntary scheme, which will allow them to learn how to create handmade household items, jewellery and accessories. 

PCF is also working with asylum seekers and migrant women in Southampton.

The organisation teaches the women, many of whom have experienced horrific ordeals, life changing skills including qualifications in English and sewing skills. 

“If we want our society and local communities to be better, we need to invest in them personally,” said Claire, who lives in Fareham.

“It could be as simple as being more accepting of people in general, particularly to our asylum seekers, where English isn’t there first language or our offenders who are looking for a second chance – it is about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.” 

Jane, who had a difficult childhood which included parental bullying, physical abuse and leaving the family home with less than £20 in her pocket, created the charity after she visiting the Philippines on a soul-searching holiday.

The mother-of-one, who was working in an affluent business position decided to use her life savings to help open a school for the dumpsite children in Manila.

The organisation that receives no government funding, has now helped hundreds of people worldwide. They have developed a market for affordable fashion and household items from waste materials that are produced by the beneficiaries of the charity.

The environmentally friendly charity diverts waste from landfills. They have established manufacturing sites within the UK criminal justice system that provide a low-cost labour force including all aspects of manufacturing from production, labelling and packaging, to delivery.

Claire, whose background is in community payback, working with offenders, said: “For some of these men and women this is the first time they have been asked what they want for their future. 

“The trust shows them that they are worthwhile and that they can change.”

Each inmate that is enrolled in the programme works for six hours a day, four days a week and earns a wage that can be spent within the prison or can contribute to funds for when they leave the institution. 

The most popular item is fashion wrinkle handbags made from coca cola ringpulls.

Currently Universal interiors in Netley, gives all the off-cut materials to the charity. However, PCF are now hoping that people will help to support the organisation by donating ties and belts so that they can upcycle items to create various items including handbags.

People who wish to donate can send items to: PCF, 14 Rectory Court, Botley, Hampshire, S030 2SJ. To find out more or to purchase products visit: