£1m East Renfrewshire Council kitchen contract serves up employment for disabled workforce

Glasgow construction firm City Building has won a £1m contract from East Renfrewshire Council that will secure employment for more than 150 staff with a disability or learning difference.

City Building won the contract through the Scottish Government’s Framework for Supported Businesses

Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft Industries (RSBi), City Building’s manufacturing division, is Europe’s largest supported employer and one of the UK’s most successful social enterprises.

It was recently awarded a contract worth almost £500,000 to supply kitchens to the council through the Scottish Government’s Framework for Supported Businesses.

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City Building’s construction division was then awarded an additional contract to fit the kitchens, bringing the total value of the win to almost £1m.

It is estimated that RSBi and City Building will deliver in the region of 350 kitchens over the next four years, helping to upgrade the council’s social housing stock and provide improved living conditions for tenants.

Based in a specially adapted factory near Springburn, more than half of RSBi’s 250 staff have a disability. The workforce includes people with sight and hearing loss, wheelchair users, veterans with PTSD and individuals with additional learning needs.

The business, which combines a socially responsible ethos with commercial practices, designs and crafts a range of products including kitchens, bathrooms, office furniture, student accommodation and timber kits for new homes.

Ben Kerr, RSBi manager, said: “We are extremely proud of our new contract with East Renfrewshire Council, which we achieved with the support of the Scottish Government’s Supported Businesses Framework.

“RSBi provides employment for many people who might otherwise struggle to get work, and ensures they have an opportunity to contribute their skills to society, but we are so much more.

“We have found exciting ways to enable people of all abilities to work together as makers, innovators and craftspeople. Buyers come to us for our high standards and quality products, not just because some of our staff are disabled.”

The council’s Housing and Maintenance convener, Councillor Danny Devlin, added: “We are pleased to continue our work with City Building on this exciting project.

"We are committed to providing high quality, safe homes for our tenants and these kitchen upgrades will further improve our housing stock. We look forward to the works getting underway in this new year and beyond.”