Lochgelly based Re-Employ is going from strength to strength, less than two years after it was set up as a social enterprise to provide a lifeline for a small group of former workers hardest hit, by the UK wide closure of Remploy factories.
Although local intervention secured positions for around 40 former workers of the Cowdenbeath factory, a group of six with multiple disabilities and severe learning difficulties were essentially categorised as unemployable and left without jobs.
Re-Employ was established with the ethos that given the right opportunities and reasonable working environment adaptations, everyone is employable.
Thanks to the award of £3000 from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust’s, Coalfields Community Investment Fund, Re-Employ will increase its volunteer base, move into new lucrative markets and significantly increase the sustainability of the project.
Operating out of Crosshill Business Centre, in Lochgelly the group designs and manufactures bespoke branded items such as stationery, bags, clocks and other merchandise for individuals and businesses.
The CRT award will be used to buy an industrial laser printer, which will allow an increase in both production and quality.
Re-Employ envisages creating an additional 10 new volunteering positions primarily in mentoring support for the employees and in IT and bookkeeping. The SCIO also hopes to create 2-4 new jobs, over the next two years.
Irene Donaldson, founder, said: “We really can’t thank the Coalfields Regeneration Trust enough for their support, which will have a major impact on our business.”
“We started Re-Employ to support six highly vulnerable ex-Remploy employees, who had given an average of 32 years’ service to the company.
‘‘It seemed harsh in the extreme that when the redundancy support mechanisms had ended, the 6 most vulnerable individuals remained unemployed, isolated and bewildered by the situation”
Re-Employ has brought a sense of purpose, pride, independence and community inclusion to its employees and volunteers.
Bob Young Scottish Trustee of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, said: “Increasing employment is one of the CRT’s key priorities, and it has been a delight for us to be so involved with this outstanding venture.” “We are particularly pleased to be supporting Re-Employ, all of whose volunteers and employees, present and future, are among the most distanced from the standard job market through disability or social exclusion”.