Jobs lost as social enterprise firm closes

Exterior of SpringBack which has closed down
Exterior of SpringBack which has closed down

A MARKINCH company which employed some workers with mental health problems has closed, reports MIKE DELANEY.

Springback staff have been left “shell-shocked” by decision, it has been claimed.

The company was run by FEAT Enterprises and is believed to have been trading for around 13 years.

SpringBack was thought to have been the United Kingdom’s only bed recycling facility and was originally set-up by Fife Employment Access Trust, who had been inspired by a similar project in the United States.

Mattresses and any other re-usable parts were salvaged, avoiding the need for them to go to landfill, an increasingly costly practice because of punitive costs which local authorities like Fife Council - which helped fund part of the project’s costs through its social work service - are keen to avoid.

But the social aspect of the work was also important, providing jobs for people who had suffered problems.

FEAT Enterprises has not had a formal connection with Fife Employment Access Trust, which is based in Collydean, for many years.

But Duncan Mitchell, who manages the latter organisation, said it was working with its former partner to try and find jobs for those made redundant.

He added: “We have been talking to them because there is an historical link between the two of us.

“We’ve offered our services to all staff that were there on Friday.

“They’ve taken away information – they are all a bit shell shocked.

“It’s really difficult because there’s so much competition for jobs and employers are likely to go for people with no issues of any kind

“A lot of people have been working there for a number of years and it’s undoubtedly going to add to anxiety.”

Last September, the company - which at that time said it employed 17 full and part-time staff - sought to allay fears about its future.

FEAT Enterprises then chairman, Patrick Laughlin, said it was “business as usual“ at SpringBack - which was based at John Haig Business Park - despite redundancies at a sister company in Grangemouth caused by “difficult trading conditions.”

It is understood that the company now only has one director still in post, but no public statement has been issued and no reasons given for the business closing.

Fife Council enterprise and development lead officer, Pamela Stevenson, said: “We have been in regular contact with FEAT since it became clear the company was having problems, to give them advice on where they could access additional help and support.

“Unfortunately, the company have now announced that 20 staff are being made redundant.

“We arranged for a visit by the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment team to give re-deployment/job advice on Friday morning, and I’m aware some employees have taken up the offer of attending PACE workshops.

“Fife Council have supported the work of FEAT over a number of years.

“Environmental services in particular worked with the company which provided a mattress recycling service for us, no doubt contributing to our recycling performance.

“It is always very disappointing to hear of any business having to close or reduce it’s workforce but is especially sad when it is a social enterprise company.”