Walking through the city centre yesterday, I met a resident I hadn’t seen for a long time who had spotted a video on our Facebook page about Westcombe Engineering.
Although she had lived in our city for most of her life, she wasn’t aware of just how much this social enterprise delivers back to our city, particularly in terms of its employment of disabled workers.
So, let me tell you a little about it – founded in 1970, Westcombe Engineering was set up to provide permanent employment and work experience for disabled people. All profits are reinvested back into the business and the local economy, with the aim of increasing the life chances of those living in Peterborough.
When it was set up, many expected it to only last a few years or so. However, nearly 50 years later the business has just announced an impressive 60 per cent growth in the last three years, led by its ability to diversify beyond its traditional diesel engine components market into new areas.
On top of this, it also won a regional business award for manufacturing in the last 12 months and in 2017, was included in the Parliamentary Review Publication, cited as a best practice example in the manufacturing industry.
Westcombe Engineering was always light years ahead of its time, but I don’t think even its founder would have predicted the global public demand for businesses to care more about their workforce, their community and increasingly their environment.
The video that went out on Facebook this week – which can be found on our Peterborough City Council channel – celebrated the business and its workers. It tells the story of among others, Darren who caught chicken pox as a child and had to have a section of his brain removed. Thanks to Westcombe, Darren is able to earn his own money and has his independence, which he is proud to say has given his life purpose.
If you haven’t seen the video it’s well worth a watch and if you have, please share it with someone else in our city. Westcombe is a credit to our community and has changed the lives of so many skilled and talented disabled people and their families. (more…)