46. James Timpson on almost losing it all, the UK’s prison crisis and the underrated power of kindness
Play • 1 hr 5 min
My guest this today is James Timpson OBE – the inspiring and successful businessman whose family-run company boasts over two thousand Timpsons, Snappy Snaps and other high street brands. In this conversation you’ll hear how the impact of lockdown almost took the company down. As he said, “half of me thought, this is a business experiment to see if we can survive - the other half thought, if we’re going to go down, we might as well go down in style sticking to our values.”

You’ll also hear about his loving but somewhat unconventional upbringing in a home that over the years was a refuge to some 90 foster children. An environment he says, that could go from “calm to chaos in a matter of seconds.” It’s clear that this early exposure to crisis in its’ rawest form is where Timpson’s culture of kindness was born. It also led to James’s other great passion in life – the rehabilitation of ex-offenders. James is Chairman of the Prison Reform Trust. But he also walks the talk in his business life. Timpson’s programme of recruiting former prisoners is one of Britain’s most progressive and successful re-employment initiatives. But as James says, it’s only when he sees a reformed ex-offender become the CEO of a well-known public company that he will begin to believe we are truly changing our attitude towards criminal justice.

So this conversation is an inspiring one and I think demonstrates how a little kindness and generosity of spirit toward those in crisis, can go a very, very long way. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

James' Crisis Cures:

1 - Breathing – learning how to breathe. I try hard to be calm and thoughtful. My mind’s too busy to meditate.

2 - Physical exercise – we’re a Peloton family. 45 minutes on that trying to beat my target. I always feel better after that.

3 – Car rallies with the kids or music festivals. When you’re dancing or in a car – nothing seems to worry you.



Host – Andy Coulson
Producer – Louise Difford

Full transcript available at: https://www.crisiswhatcrisis.com/podcasts/james-timpson-on-almost-losing-it-all-the-uks-prison-crisis-and-the-underrated-power-of-kindness/
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