£2m boost for supported business initiative
More jobs for those with disabilities.
Up to 80 jobs could be created for people with disabilities through a £2 million Scottish Government investment. This is being matched with financial contributions from Falkirk Council and Haven Products Ltd over the next two years.
The funding will be used to support the relocation of three social enterprises in a central, state-of-the-art site in Larbert, near Falkirk.
The Scottish Government has worked closely with Scottish Enterprise, Falkirk Council and Haven Products to create the new facility, which will supply both public and private sector contracts.
The Haven Products businesses to be based in Larbert include the Sign Factory, which provides specialist sign services – currently owned by Falkirk Council, Redrock, which offers document management services and Haven PTS, which manufactures work-wear uniforms and specialist protective clothing. Haven PTS has recently secured a three-year contract to supply the Scottish NHS with nurses’ uniforms, worth up to £1.5 million per annum.
The site will also facilitate a new innovative training and development centre, jointly funded by the Scottish Government and Falkirk Council, which will specialise in supporting people who have difficulty in finding employment due to disability.
Announcing the funding, Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing, said:
“This is yet another example of the firm commitment that the Scottish Government has to the Supported Business sector and people with disabilities.
"Working together with Falkirk Council and Haven Products we will deliver a modern, efficient working environment for three supported businesses, as well as helping increase future business, employment and development opportunities for people with disabilities.
“Since April 2012 I have been working very hard to mitigate the effects of the UK Government’s closure of Remploy factories in Scotland. I was delighted when our hard work paid off and resulted in Haven PTS Ltd being able to take on 26 members of Remploy staff in January this year.
“The Scottish Government is determined to safeguard jobs from Westminster cuts, and will fight to protect the strong supported business sector that exists in Scotland.”
Councillor Dennis Goldie, Falkirk Council portfolio holder for economic development, said:
“Falkirk Council has worked closely with the Scottish Government and Haven on this joint project and is delighted to help the creation of this supported business and training centre of excellence at Central Park.
“It will have a hugely positive impact on the local economy and create job opportunities for a group of people traditionally disadvantaged in the labour market. An important element is the transfer of the Sign Factory staff and we have been working closely with employees and Trades Union to make this transition as smooth as possible.”
David Whyte, Director of Haven Products, said:
“Haven Products has been providing employment for people with disabilities since 1946, and we are proud to be the biggest employer of people with disabilities in the supported business sector in the UK. Our workforce now consists of 220 people, more than 90 per cent of whom have a disability.
“We had been exploring our options to combine a number of our supported businesses within one location. And with thanks to the support of the Scottish Government, Falkirk Council and Scottish Enterprise, we have secured an excellent site for this purpose. From the new facility we will deliver our secure document scanning and sign making services, as well as manufacture work-wear uniforms, including for the NHS, and specialist protective clothing, for private and public sector businesses.
“Not only will the site in Falkirk be a better commute for our existing staff, but we are excited about its potential to create even more employment and training opportunities for people in the area.”
Scottish Enterprise said:
John McManus, Property Team Leader, Scottish Enterprise said:
“I am delighted that, alongside the Scottish Government and other partners, we were able to support Haven Products to facilitate this property solution in the Falkirk area.”
After the closure of Remploy factories across Scotland with the loss of more than 270 jobs for people with disabilities, an opportunity emerged for Haven Products to re-establish textile manufacturing with a new supported business, Haven PTS, in the old Remploy factory in Stirling.
In January 2014 Fergus Ewing and the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Alex Neil, officially opened the Haven PTS business as part of the wider Haven Products Ltd activities across Scotland. It was always recognised, however, that Haven PTS would need to re-locate to more modern efficient premises.
The site in Larbert was identified for its ease of travel and convenience for staff. As social enterprises, staff welfare is of paramount importance to Haven Products and the site at Larbert was selected after an extensive review of possible sites which would be most suitable for staff. The facility at Larbert offers a modern working environment with the capacity for growth of supported businesses and the introduction of an employability programme, aimed at helping those with a disability into the employment. The site will also provide numerous training opportunities for those with a disability.