Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft Industries (RSBi) has directly created 16 new jobs as a result of its contract to supply furniture to vulnerable individuals being supported by the Scottish Welfare Fund.
The figures were disclosed earlier this week following a visit by Jeane Freeman, Social Security Minister, to the premises of RSBi, which is the manufacturing division of City Building and one of Scotland’s leading supported businesses. More than half of its 260 staff have a disability, including visual and hearing impairments and learning disabilities.
The Scottish Welfare Fund provides a safety net for vulnerable people on low incomes by helping them to set up home or continue living independently in the community. It is administered by Glasgow City Council on behalf of the Scottish Government.
RSBi was appointed by Glasgow City Council to supply and install furniture to individuals being supported by the Scottish Welfare Fund in 2014. The agreement, worth £6.5m last year, requires RBSi to design, manufacture, deliver and install a wide variety of products, such as flooring, and furniture, for individuals receiving a community care grant.
In addition, RSBi is responsible for installing all electrical goods, including cookers, fridge freezers and washing machines in designated households. In cases where persons are particularly vulnerable, through old age or illness, RSBi can deploy a fast track delivery service at no additional cost to the council.
Since winning the contract, the manufacturing business has employed an additional 16 workers in a range of positions, from drivers, to floor layers and an apprentice administrator.
Through the contract, RSBi has also facilitated a new supply chain partnership with Spruce Carpets, a social enterprise which works to reduce the amount of flooring waste going to landfills. The Glasgow-based carpet company sells end-of-roll and surplus stock carpets to households, businesses and local housing associations.
Jeane Freeman MSP, Social Security Minister visited the RSBi workshop on Wednesday 18 January. She said: “Our Scottish Welfare Fund, working with councils and partners around the country, does a huge amount of good to mitigate the worst effects of UK Government welfare cuts by helping people in times of crisis.
“The work done by RSBi is a terrific example of that partnership in action. The work they do provides employment, benefits the local community and provides an important boost to the local economy.
“It has been a privilege to meet the team and see first-hand the work that they do.”
Speaking of the contract Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “RSBi is a special and inspirational organisation which has had great success in providing employment and other opportunities to individuals who may otherwise not receive them.
“The workforce also produces very high quality goods – and I’m delighted that, through this contract, their hard work and skills are making a difference to the lives of some of our most vulnerable people.”
Dr Graham Paterson, executive director of City Building, said: “The Scottish Welfare Fund contract has made a significant difference to operations at RSBi. Not only have we been able to expand our workforce, we have been able to take on a new supplier, whose business ethos is very much in line with our own.
“It was wonderful to welcome Jeane Freeman MSP to our site so that she can meet the team and see first-hand the quality of work produced.”