Lifeline for Glencraft
First Minister Alex Salmond today announced plans that could provide a lifeline for Glencraft workers and secure the future of the Glencraft factory in Aberdeen.
The workshop, which provided manufacturing jobs for the blind and people with a disability, was operating at a heavy loss and was put into administration in November.
However, one of Scotland's most successful private sector companies, Aberdeen-based PSN (Production Services Network Ltd), has come forward with a solution to provide a positive future for many of the former Glencraft employees.
Global energy company PSN has submitted a business plan which sets out how a new enterprise could build on the work of the previous company.
The new venture, Glencraft (Social Enterprise) Ltd, would retain charitable status and offer as many former staff as possible the opportunity of new employment.
The Scottish Government, together with partners including Aberdeen City Council and Scottish Enterprise, is working with PSN to agree a funding package to launch the new firm.
PSN will provide refreshed leadership and business acumen, marketing expertise and fundraising support to drive the new Glencraft forward and ensure that it has every chance of success in the future.
First Minister Alex Salmond said:
"With a tradition stretching back over 150 years, Glencraft has been a well respected brand, making quality products and providing valuable jobs in the community. I am delighted to announce that PSN intends to offer employees a lifeline and the opportunity to build a successful future from this prestigious past.
"I welcome PSN CEO Bob Keiller and CFO Duncan Skinner's personal commitment to ensuring Glencraft becomes a business again and I am confident that the expertise and support of this very successful global business will get Glencraft back on track.
"The skills and expertise of staff should not be wasted, and the aim is that a new business would employ as many former employees as possible. Together with public sector partners, I am proud to support this exciting development for the workforce and the local community.
"The Scottish Government is committed to growing the economy and supporting communities and business during these challenging economic times. The partnership working to recover Glencraft, between the business community led by PSN and public sector partners including Aberdeen City Council, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government, is an excellent example of how we can work together to achieve this goal."
PSN Chief Executive Bob Keiller said:
"Glencraft epitomises the Northeast's philanthropic and entrepreneurial tradition. Duncan Skinner and I are proud to build on existing Government and Council commitments to support a unique business that harnesses craftsmanship to produce outstanding furniture. We will inject stronger business principles through refreshed leadership, marketing expertise and fundraising support to ensure Glencraft once again becomes a successful and sustainable business. But this will only work if the business and wider community matches our commitment.
"Today, I urge you to consider how you can contribute to our target of raising half a million pounds throughout 2010 to give Glencraft the best possible relaunch. We cannot afford a collective sigh of relief. The hard work starts today and, to paraphrase Robert Frost, we have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep"
Aberdeen City Council Leader, Councillor John Stewart said:
"The City Council has been working extremely hard with the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise to find a new future for Glencraft and we will continue to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to re-establish the business as a viable concern. I'm delighted that such a prominent and successful Aberdeen business has come forward with this offer to invest its expertise and I hope we will soon have in front of us a workable business plan to secure Glencraft on a sustainable basis."
Aberdeen City Council Chief Executive Sue Bruce added:
"Very many people from a range of different agencies have been working tirelessly behind the scenes since Glencraft went into liquidation to help the individual workers and to investigate new business models which might form the basis for a new Glencraft to emerge. We will all continue to work with our new private sector partner and strive to use our combined skills to draw up a new business plan to re-invent Glencraft on a firm new footing and re-employ the skills of the former workforce."
Andrew Laing, Glencraft representative, said:
"We are thrilled that the First Minister and the Scottish Government have kept their promise to advocate for our unique Scottish business. We would especially like to thank Duncan Skinner and Bob Keiller from PSN for their faith in the Glencraft workforce and their vision for our business - we will work as hard as we can to bring their vision alive. We are also very grateful to the citizens of Aberdeen for their support and kind words. We are very excited about the new adventure ahead and look forward to turning the business around in 2010."
PSN is a global energy company that provides specialist engineering, construction, operations, maintenance and decommissioning services to the owners of energy assets around the world. PSN is one of the top ten largest private Scottish companies, has a turnover of over 1.2billion, with an order book worth more than 2.4billion and work secured to 2014.