Brothers Archie and Jamie Montgomery, of JA & E Montgomery, received a surprise visit on Match 25. High Sheriff of Somerset, Mary-Clare Rodwell, together with Eva Hamilton MBE, founder and CEO of Key4Life, awarded the company the YOUNITED Flag kitemark for employing ex-offenders.
Somerset-based crime prevention charity Key4Life, which rehabilitates men who have been to prison and those at risk of going to prison, initiated the YOUNITED Flag Campaign. Launched in 2019 by music legend Nile Rodgers, the campaign encourages companies to employ ex-offenders and give them another chance.
Years of support
JA & E Montgomery comprises Montgomery Cheese and the Cadbury Estate and North Cadbury Court. The Montgomery brothers have supported Key4Life since its inception. The charity was officially launched in front of North Cadbury Court by Sir Bob Geldof in September 2012. Over the last eight years, Archie and Jamie have given a number of placements and jobs to graduates of Key4Life’s rehabilitation programme. The most recent success story is young man called Jack, who spent three years working on the Montgomery Estate farm and with Montgomery Cheese.
Archie and Jamie Montgomery also hosted a flagship event in 2016 alongside Andy Marsh, the Chief Constable of Somerset & Avon Police, challenging local companies to employ offenders.
Archie Montgomery said: “We are delighted to receive this wonderful YOUNITED Flag. We have been involved with Key4Life since Eva convinced us that the charity offered a practical way to keep young men out of jail and of the value in taking part. It’s not been an easy challenge but we have been pretty successful. Re-offending costs the UK government £18 Billion a year. For every young man kept out of jail we save the tax payer money and give that person a new start in life. I am proud of what we have achieved and the men that we have helped and supported.”
Jamie Montgomery added: “We can all get dragged down by talk of re-offending and being involved in yet another committee meeting to talk about it. Yet Key4Life has actually just got on and done the job offering practical support to young men who need it.
“We employed Jack for the last three years,” Jamie continued. “He started working on potatoes and at the end of the season we decided that he was much too good to lose so we offered him a job working in the cheese store. Jack really worked hard, has been a pleasure to have around, and since he began working in the cheese store, the quality of the cheese has significantly improved.”
In addition to employing ex-offenders, the Montgomery brothers also produce and supply the delicious cheese for Key4Life’s Food Cell, an ex prison van turned burger van which provides tasty organic burgers to locals in Somerset, giving young ex-offenders valuable business skills and experience to help them get future work.