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£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.

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.”

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.

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.”

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.”