Backing Remploy Leeds

Meeting Steven Cook, long-standing staffer at Remploy Leeds

Meeting Steven Cook, long-standing staffer at Remploy Leeds

Just down the road on the edge of Churwell is a place called Remploy. Many Morleians work there, including Stephen Cook who I met on my visit last Friday who’s worked there over 20 years. All of the 60 employees have a disability. The factory operates to accommodate their different needs. Unfortunately though Remploy is under threat. When I caught up staff and volunteers at the end of their shift we talked about the changes that are being proposed. Like many people whose jobs are threatened, staff are understandably concerned. But everyone I spoke was prepared to do whatever was needed to keep their factory open. Remploy is much more than just a workplace. There are much wider benefits. As one local woman told me, “I’ve worked in other places but when I started at Remploy it felt different, I was accepted for who I am.” Remploy provides support as well as a network of friends and colleagues. Having somewhere to go and something to do is vital if people are to feel part of society, making a contribution, just like everyone else.

I’m worried about what will happen if the factory shuts. What will replace it? With jobs already scarce and unemployment on the rise, what will be on offer for people with a disability? I fear that in order to make some short-term savings, decisions may be made that will cost a great deal more in the long term. I’m backing the Leeds Remploy staff in their fight to stay open.

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Posted December 12th, 2011 by Ed