Jason Baker, founder of Hove-based media firm Citrus Ornge, is in recovery from addiction and is eager to help others in similar circumstances.
His vision is to employ 50 per cent of his team from the ex-offender and addiction recovery communities, and he’s well on the way to achieving it.
Mr Baker said: “The challenge of addiction changed my life and I know how difficult it is to get your life back together while in recovery.
“Part of that recovery is finding employment. It is a crucial issue that helps in so many ways. If I can help others to find the support and guidance they need to identify a steady job they will be in a much stronger position to face the challenges to come.”
Mr Baker’s vision formed following an invite to a talk by The Forward Enterprise Fund, which is a social investment fund which supports those creating employment opportunities for ex-offenders and people in recovery from addiction.
Mr Baker realised he had the experience and the means to help, and so his social mission began.
He said his own journey to recovery from alcohol addiction gives him unique insight into the issues that people face in this position.
Mr Baker started work in the media sector in 2000, working for a variety of media, digital and performance marketing giants along the way.
In February 2015, he sought help with his alcohol addiction, and this launched a mission to put his life back together which included major surgery in 2016 at which time he feared he would never work again.
In the years since his operation, Mr Baker has put his life back together, got back to work and started a successful business, which already helps employees, ex-offenders and those in recovery – but he hopes to do more.
He said: “I’m concerned that addiction is a silent issue in the media and marketing sector. It should be a topic that is openly discussed in-line with the movement towards mental health first aid in today’s modern workplace.”
Mr Baker is creating opportunities for ex-offenders and those in recovery through several work experience and mentoring initiatives, working in partnership with Dr Rob Robinson at addiction charity Pavilions.
Citrus Ornge also works with other local community partners in Brighton and Hove, including Sussex Pathways, Making it Out and Thrive Inside.
Mr Baker believes that addiction is a silent issue in the business world.
To find out more about Mr Baker and his mission at Citrus Ornge, visit: www.citrusornge.com