Lifejackets throw out a lifeline to Remploy

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LEVEN’S Remploy factory is to help design a new top-of-the-range lifejacket suitable for use by people with disabilities.

Record breaking disabled yachtsman Geoff Holt is pioneering the project, along with marine safety manufacturer Ocean Safety, and chose Remploy in Leven to assist him as its disabled workers have become renowned for making top quality industry recognised Kru lifejackets.

The first of a series of design meetings took place last Thursday, when Mr Holt visited the factory to address staff ahead of last Saturday’s International Day of Disabled People.

Of the project, Mr Holt, a quadriplegic and the first disabled sailor to sail across the Atlantic unassisted, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Remploy on the journey to fulfilling my vision.

“It is a perfect synergy, people with disabilities working towards making the lives of people with disabilities even better.”

With 30 Remploy staff, at the Banbeath Industrial Estate factory, set to manufacture the final approved product the new work is sure to offer a glimmer of hope for staff, who are still waiting to hear the outcome of a Government consultation which could see Remploy closed down.

Jamie Lawson, Remploy’s textiles group operations and marine sales manager, said: “Remploy is delighted to offer expertise on this project and we are honoured that Geoff has chosen us as industry leaders.

“We hope to work together and merge our knowledge with his years of practical experience to create a top quality product.”

While the design is in initial concept stages, it is hoped to create a lifejacket that offers extra safety features but is stylish and comfortable for all sailors, while also considering the specialist needs of disabled people.