Mr John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy today officially opened the new 53,000 sq ft facility of award-winning social firm Haven Enterprises in Larbert, which will enable the company to sustain employment and create new job opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people in Scotland.
Haven was established in 1946 and since then has provided employment for hundreds of disabled people in Scotland in a range of businesses from packaging to recycling. In recent years Haven has developed its supported businesses, working closely with the Scottish Government and with local authorities to provide employment opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people. Haven has recently undergone considerable growth, doubling its workforce which now stands at 250 people, 220 of whom are disabled or disadvantaged. Haven is part of the Momentum Group in Scotland, which itself is part of the international charity Rehab.
The new facility in Larbert, developed in partnership with Falkirk Council and The Scottish Government will provide the headquarters for three supported business that Haven Enterprises currently operates:
• Haven PTS Limited, which designs and manufactures a range of personal protective equipment (PPE), safety clothing, work wear and uniforms. During 2015, Haven PTS will manufacture almost 140,000 garments for NHS nurses, in partnership with Dimensions UKMW. Haven PTS employs 45 people.
• Redrock is a document scanning business which became part of Haven last year. Redrock provides a full suite of secure document scanning and document management services to public and private sector clients, storing data securely in the cloud and turning paper files and high volume ‘back files’ into fully searchable online records.Redrock employs 45 people, with 9 people employed in Scotland.
• The Sign Factory was established 20 years ago as a supported business by Falkirk Council to provide employment for disabled people. It offers a complete range of signage from vehicle graphics and engraving through to traffic signs and screen printing, with bespoke design services available to customers. The Sign Factory became part of Haven in early 2015 and aims to continue to develop its business with private and public sector customers.
Haven has been supported to create sustainable employment opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people in Scotland by the Scottish Government, which has consistently encouraged the development of supported businesses.
Falkirk Council has also been essential in bringing the new facility in Larbert into operation through the award of contracts for signage, recycling and scanning, as part of the supported business framework, in addition to promoting the capabilities of Haven’s businesses to the wider commercial business community. Falkirk Council has an ongoing commitment to the facility to ensure it becomes a successful model and provides a positive path to employment for people with disabilities.
In addition to these commercial businesses, the Larbert site will also house a new Centre for Training Excellence as a joint initiative with Momentum, Falkirk Council and the Scottish Government. This two-year jointly funded pilot project aims to support disabled people to access quality, sustainable employment aligned with national and local policies and programmes, using a connected and integrated approach.
In addition to training and skills gap bridging, the Centre will operate as a joint initiative between Haven and Falkirk Council’s Employment and Training Unit, which will connect suitable clients with targeted work experience and employment opportunities both within the facility and through links with local employers, significantly increasing people’s confidence and employability skills. It is anticipated that during the lifetime of the project 90 people will be supported in their journey towards employment.
David Whyte, Chief Operations Officer, Haven Enterprises, said: “Throughout its history, Haven has had a very simple objective of continually striving to create as many sustainable employment opportunities for disabled people as possible. The last two years has seen significant growth in the breadth and scope of our businesses that compete in a commercially competitive environment through the delivery of high quality, cost effective products and services.
“Today’s opening is the culmination of this growth and this would not have been possible without the support of our partners and Haven would like to particularly thank the Scottish Government and Falkirk Council for all their support and foresight in developing this project that will benefit our employees and customers.
“The future is bright for Haven and we look forward to continuing to work with both national and local businesses and partners to continue to create new employment opportunities for people across communities in Scotland.”
Mr John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister said: “The Scottish Government is firmly committed to equality for disabled people and are striving to create a Scotland that is fair and inclusive to all. A crucial part of enabling people to play a full and satisfying role in their communities – is employability.
“When the UK Government closed Remploy in 2012 hundreds of disabled people were left without employment or prospects. The Scottish Government committed to step in and do all it could to help those in need. Today’s opening of the new facility is another major step in our vow of support.
“The Team Scotland approach has demonstrated what can be achieved when people work together – public sector, private business and third sector – to achieve a common good. This way of working is very much the way forward, and I’d like to congratulate all partners for their enthusiasm and professionalism throughout a complicated process.”
Councillor Craig Martin, Leader of Falkirk Council, said: “The Falkirk Council area is a great place to locate and this factory is a shining example of our ongoing economic transformation. It also clearly shows the full and equal contribution that disabled people make in the workplace and I would like to wish all the employees well in this new venture.
“Falkirk Council is proud of the role it has had in working with the Scottish Government and Haven to establish this facility and the new Centre of Excellence in Larbert. The Council is committed to the long-term success of the project and to enabling disabled people to play a full part in workplaces across our area and we are already providing support through the award of contracts for services.”