Kent-based social enterprise lands multi-million pound Network Rail contract
Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (BBMC), a Kent social enterprise, which directly employs British veterans and people with disabilities, has secured a multi-million pound contract with Network Rail, the UK’s largest railway owner.
BBMC, the manufacturing division of Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), is now set to become the sole lineside signage provider for Network Rail which owns the majority of the British rail network.
Currently BBMC, which has provided signs for the rail company for more than 25 years, employs 120 people – more than 70% of whom are ex-service personnel, or have a physical or mental disability.
Director of BBMC, Geoff Streetley, said it is important to recognise the benefits in purchasing from social enterprises.
He added: “As we are solely a not-for-profit enterprise, any surplus we make is immediately reinvested back into the company to give ex-service personnel and people with disabilities the opportunity to find sustained and rewarding employment – whether that is directly through BBMC or through the various employment services we offer at RBLI.”
“We are appreciative of Network Rail for recognising the knowledge, technical ability and the hard-working attitude of a commercially successful group of people who can be too often pushed aside in the world of work.”
This announcement comes just weeks after BBMC reached a significant milestone in its history, as for the first time it amassed a £5 million turnover in a single year. The social enterprise employs 16 people to produce up to 40,000 signs of varying sizes each year.
Former Royal Engineer Tim Brown, who was diagnosed with PTSD after serving the Armed Forces for 23 years, joined BBMC as a team leader in 2016.
Tim said: ““I had reached a point in my lorry driving job where I realised I couldn’t do it any longer because of my diagnosis of PTSD and other physical issues,” said Tim. “So I found RBLI at a really good time in my life.
“I have done things and seen things in my life that most people wouldn’t dream of, and to come somewhere like this – it’s peaceful, calm and safe – and to be part of that is brilliant.
“I do think there are people here who may find it difficult to sustain a mainstream job, outside of RBLI – here disabilities are catered for and people are cared for.
“Without them I would be finding it difficult myself to find a job that I could hold down. It’s an amazing place to work because everybody looks after each other and cares about each other, from the very top to the bottom.”
“I come to work with a smile – I never did that when I was doing any other job, which says it all really.”
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About RBLI (Royal British Legion Industries)
Established in 1919, Royal British Legion Industries is an independent national charity aiming to provide employment, training and support to members and veterans of the British Armed Forces, their families and dependents; as well as those with a disability or health condition and those who have been long term unemployed.
- Royal British Legion Industries is a separate charity from Royal British Legion but has a shared ethos of supporting the Armed Forces community.
- LifeWorks – Our transformative series of courses that help veterans to identify and build on existing skills in order to find sustained work. Currently, 83% of participants move into employment, training or volunteering within 12 months, and 80% of those are living with a disability, health or mental health condition.
RBLI’s other services:
- Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (BBMC) – A social enterprise which directly employs over 120 people, more than 60% of whom are disabled. We manufacture a range of products for both the public and private sector. This generates £5m in revenue meaning that even more employment opportunities are available for injured or impaired ex-forces personnel and people with disabilities and health conditions.
- RBLI Employment – Our division providing support to those who are long-term unemployed or have disabilities or health conditions. During 2015/16, more than 2000 people were supported into work, while more than 5000 disabled people have been provided with workplace assessments.
- RBLI Living – We offer accommodation, welfare support and convalescent care to more than 300 people in the RBLI village in Kent, providing independent living in a safe and homely environment.