Jason Baker, Business founder and recovering addict, calls for increased support for workers that are struggling with addiction during lockdown, ahead of his address to the Intelligence Forums London webinar on February 4th, 2021.
As we navigate the UK’s third lockdown, homeworking and the removal of social connections have become the norm. This is difficult for all sections of society, but it could be a disaster for those that suffer from addiction.
Alcohol abuse has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. For example, The British Liver Trust, has reported a 500% rise in calls to its helpline since lockdown began in March.
Addiction has long been managed behind the scenes in places of work, but our new lockdown lifestyles will create a tipping point, leading to an increase in addiction-related issues in the workplace.
Homeworking has separated employees from their routines and colleagues, who often form part of a wider support network. It has also removed any real visibility on day-to-day employee activity, which tends to exacerbate the problem.
Jason Baker is an experienced media professional, who is in recovery from addiction and is eager to help others in similar circumstances. He is calling for addiction to be a topic that is openly discussed in-line with the movement towards mental health first aid in today’s modern workplace.
He is the founder of Citrus Ornge, a specialist performance marketing, technology, and publishing business with a social mission. Jason’s vision was to employ 50% of his team from the ex-offender and addiction recovery communities, but he has already exceeded this target and currently, 60% of his workforce are in recovery. Citrus Ornge has directly worked with 8 people in recovery, in addition to 10 others that have partners in recovery or have been placed elsewhere.
Citrus Ornge is a specialist performance marketing, technology, and publishing business who are experts in high-end B2B & B2C lead generation.
Jason Baker, Founder, Citrus Ornge, comments:
“The challenge of addiction changed my life and I know how difficult it is to get your life back together while in recovery. I don’t know how I would have managed my condition through the isolation of lockdown, and I fear we will only realise the scale of the current issue long after lockdown has ended.
“I strongly believe that employment is a crucial part of recovery and it helps in so many ways. I want all employers to take this issue seriously and commit to including addiction issues as part of the move towards mental health first aid in today’s modern workplace.”
Jason delivers work programmes and mentoring initiatives as part of the IPS programme, working with Dr Rob Robinson at Change Grow Live (Brighton Drug and Alcohol Service), who is also a Board Advisor at Citrus Ornge.
Jason will be discussing these issues as part of his address to the Intelligence Forums London webinar, on February 4th, 2021.
Citrus Ornge’s social mission
Jason Baker started Citrus Ornge in mid-2018, leaving a role as Commercial Director at one of the top independent agencies in the UK as he sought a way to combine his media skills with his desire to help those in recovery from addiction.
Jason’s vision formed following an invite to a talk by The Forward Enterprise Fund, which is a social investment fund run together with Social Investment for Business. It supports individuals, charities, and social enterprises in creating employment opportunities for ex-offenders and people in recovery from addiction.
The Forward Enterprise Fund website says that ‘Ex-offenders and people in recovery from addiction are the two groups mainstream employers are least likely to recruit.’ Yet having a job can bring independence and self-respect and is the single most effective factor in reducing the risk of re-offending.’
Jason’s own journey to recovery from alcohol addiction gives him unique insight into the issues that people face in this position. He knows how hard it was for him when he first got sober and wants to help those in similar circumstances to start again with a little guidance and understanding.
In February 2015, Jason 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 Jason feared he would never work again, let alone run his own business.
In the years since his operation, Jason 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.
Jason Baker is a guest speaker at the Intelligence Forums London webinar, February 4th, 2021, where he will be discussing Citrus Ornge’s social mission and the challenges of lockdown.
To join the webinar sign up here.