Enabled Works’ new home in Morley

When the Leeds Remploy factory closed down in Cottingley it was a huge blow to dozens of local disabled people who had worked there. It would have been easy to lose faith in a tough jobs’ market. But rather than giving in, a group of 13 workers from our local Leeds factory and the Remploy Factory over in Pontefract each put some of their own redundancy money into a pot to set up a new factory to keep the group of workers together and in work.

At Enabled Works’ new home right here in Morley it is still early days. But orders have come in and the team at the factory were working hard when I joined the production line, along with Normanton, Pontefract & Castleford MP, Yvette Cooper and local Councillor, Neil Dawson.

Enabled Works has been set up as a Workers Cooperative. As a Labour and Cooperative MP, I’m delighted to have a new Cooperative factory here in my constituency. It is owned and run by the workers themselves. And everyone is working really hard to make sure it’s a success.

Tony Gledhill, Tina Brown, Steven Cook and the rest of the team have done an amazing job to get things going so quickly. Remploy was never perfect and needed to change and reform. But the danger of getting rid of it all together, before something new was ready to take its place, was that a generation of disabled people would be cut adrift from the people and colleagues they’d worked with, and the network of friends they needed from a supportive working environment. Enabled Works are now showing the rest of the country how things can be done differently.

Here in Morley we now have a great new organisation just starting out. I will be working alongside the team to make sure the local Enabled Works Cooperative gets the support they need to make themselves a real success story.

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Posted April 4th, 2013 by Ed