Jobs saved as new Exeter collective thrives

Posted on: 26 October 2015

An Exeter business which provides specialist employment for people with disabilities will be officially opened by Devon County Council leader John Hart on Wednesday (October 28) at 11am.

The Devon Disability Collective (DDC) was set up after PLUSS announced the impending closure of its factory at Marsh Barton.

Devon County Council owns the building and agreed to waive the £150,000 rent for the first year and loan the collective £125,000 over five years to help its set-up costs and cash flow.

Mr Hart also worked with Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw and Devon County Council Labour leader Richard Westlake to assist the staff to take over the business and set themselves up as a collective.

Now the business is thriving and 21 jobs have been saved at the Exeter factory.

Established 45 years ago, the factory manufactures wheelchair products for the NHS, provides light-engineering services for customers such as BT as well as operating re-upholstery services for home, business and the marine and the auto-motive industries.

Mr Hart said:

“I met with representatives from the Devon Disability Collective at the time and studied their business plan.

“They demonstrated how they expected to maintain a level of commercial activity and I was impressed by their enthusiasm.

“I am now delighted to see that – less than six months later – they are making a real success of the business and providing employment for people with disabilities who might well have been thrown on the dole if the factory had closed.”

The Devon Disability Collective’s chief executive, Michael Crompton-Holgate,
said:

“The business is going from strength to strength which has contributed to a vastly increased product and service offering over the four months it has been operating.

“The Devon County Council loan will help us grow as planned.

“On behalf of all of us at DDC, I want to thank John Hart and his team for all of their support. Everyone has been remarkably helpful and supportive on getting us off the ground.”

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