Steelworkers turn tables on TATA redundancy

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Two former steelworkers are turning the tables on redundancy after setting up their own business in Rotherham’s indoor market.

Friends Ian Hawkridge and Jason Sayles shared a mutual interest in music and record collecting so when the pair were made redundant from TATA in March, they decided to set up their own vinyl record business, the first in the town for several years.

Some 700 people were made redundant from TATA, including at its Rotherham and Stocksbridge plants, after a restructure at the time.

“We’ve known each other for years, even before working at TATA,” said Jason, who is 45.

“And we’ve both always been interested in music.”

And 46-year-old Ian added: “We thought there was a gap in the market for vinyl record sales in Rotherham – people are becoming more and more interested in vinyl again and the last vinyl record shop closed down more than ten years ago.

“The response from customers so far has been great.”

Both Ian and Jason attended a self-employment taster session for steelworkers at a special resource centre which was set up at Aldwarke by the TATA Taskforce, a project aimed at supporting those affected by the mass redundancies.

Ian also took part in a “start-up” workshop and met with business start-up advisor, Martyn Benson, from Rotherham Council’s regeneration arm RiDO, before their idea for the record business got off the ground.

They secured their unit in the indoor market and as new stallholders, qualified for two months free rent and charges to help them launch the business, as well as ongoing support.

Council leader Coun Chris Read, who chaired the TATA Taskforce, said.“The issues at TATA have made the past year a very difficult time for workers and their families.

“The partners involved in the taskforce have been making every effort to help those affected by helping people find alternative jobs, access training, or simply highlighting new opportunities.”