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Haven Products Lifts Two Major Awards

A social enterprise firm, which numbers major blue-chip companies amongst its customers, was this week awarded two prestigious awards in recognition of its impact on business and on society in Scotland.

Haven Products, which is part of Rehab Group's Scottish division, Momentum, picked up the awards at the Scottish Business in the Community awards dinner this week. The first was an Award for Excellence - also known as a Big Tick - in the category Impact on Society, awarded to companies that are able to demonstrate an outstanding responsible business practices.

Haven also received a second surprise award in the Inspirational Small Company Award in the Community Company of the Year Awards.

Haven operates factories in Greenock, Hillington and Inverness and picked up the awards for its innovative Twenty One Programme, which promotes employment and development opportunities for disabled people in a commercial environment.

News of Haven’s success is the latest recognition of the growing importance of the social economy in Scotland. It comes just a week after a new £6 million loan fund to support organisations operating in the social economy was launched by Communities Minister, Malcolm Chisholm. The fund will be known as SIS Futurebuilders Plus,

And last week the Scottish Executive also announced that they are to set up a Social Economy Advisory Board, giving the not-for-profit sector the opportunity to make significant input to the work of the Executive in developing the social economy and in sustaining dialogue with the diversity of the sector.

Since its introduction in July 2003 the Haven Products’ Twenty One programme has seen the firm increase its disabled workforce to 110 employees - 86% of its total workforce. In the same period Haven Products has accumulated an impressive customer list, which includes IBM, Playtex and the Edrington Group. The organisation offers manufacturing services to a range of sectors including the automotive and whisky industries and operates as a commercially viable business – the difference being that it reinvests all surplus in creating employment for disabled people.

Last July the company decided to increase employment opportunities to disabled people and took the radical step of switching to a mainly disabled workforce, working 21 hours per week. This move was accompanied by increasing investment both in staff training and in equipment and led to the proportion of disabled employees rising from 50% to 86% and also to the firm’s production and client base increasing significantly. In September 2004, Haven moved to bigger premises in Hillington to cope with its growth. These were opened by Maria Eagle, Minister for Disabled People

Haven Product also made the UK final shortlist for the National Business in the Community Awards.

David Whyte, Managing Director of Haven Products said, “These awards are great news for us and recognise the growing focus on responsible business practice in Scotland. Since introducing the Twenty One programme we have significantly increased revenue, with our Hillington operation’s revenue rising to £250,000 for the year to December 2004, from a zero base when the new operation started in July 2003. We have also won a number of contracts from other organisations, including expanding our whisky business from John Dewar & Sons & William Grants, as well as our inaugural customer at Hillington, The Edrington Group.

“The age of twenty one is associated with coming of age and independence. The Twenty One Programme provides that independence - allowing disabled people to earn proper wages, develop skills and become active members of their community. The programme has significantly benefited the community by providing opportunities for many disabled people to earn a wage for the first time and, by working alongside international and blue-chip companies, Haven makes an important contribution to the way business in Scotland perceives disabled people’s work and value and indeed the work and value of the social economy.”

Haven Products is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rehab Group's Scottish division, Momentum.

Further information from Ashley Lennon at Momentum on 0141 221 2333 or 07711 503420.

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