When Community’s members at Pluss in Exeter faced redundancy, they didn’t give up hope; they got organised and set up their own business. The Devon Disability Collective was created and now they’re open, ready for business and looking for new customers.
Steve Gallin, Community’s rep at Pluss in Exeter, said it was ‘devastating’ news when 37 potential redundancies were announced.
“We knew it would be incredibly difficult for workers to find new jobs, if not impossible.”
But as proud and skilled upholsterers of everything from bed headboards to VW camper vans, the workers knew there was a customer base out there. So why not take on the business themselves?
Community helped Steve and his colleagues with a business plan, funding access and forming the workers’ co-operative. Pluss agreed to donate the current machinery, and the council provided a year’s tenancy rent-free, along with a £125,000 loan.
“We’d like to thank everybody who has supported us to get to this point. We are looking forward to fulfi lling our customers’ orders, growing our business and continuing to provide skilled and sustainable jobs for disabled workers,” said Steve.
Now the business is fully up and running and they’re looking to extend their customer base. The Collective offer a full range of upholstery services to the public. From camper vans to modern cars to furniture.
Community’s General Secretary, Roy Rickhuss, recently visited the Collective.
“I was so impressed by what our members at the Devon Disability Collective have achieved and their determination to make a success of the business. The pride in their work and the quality of their products is outstanding.
“I hope Community members will take a look at the range of upholstery services the Collective has to offer and will send some business their way. I’m sure they won’t be disappointed.”
You can see all the products and services the Collective provides by visiting their website.