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Alex's efforts to help disabled workers in Leeds pay off

Remember the Leeds Remploy scandal? The Leeds Remploy plant employed disabled workers. It was shut down by the Coalition Government in November 2012.

But a phoenix has risen from the ashes - with a little help from people like Alex Sobel.

Enabled Works  is a not-for-profit workers co-operative which is owned and run by its own disabled workforce.

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It's been a great success story - including winning a 2013 Social Enterprise Start-Up of the Year award for the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Alex recently visited the new Enabled Works with Kate Green MP, the Shadow Disabilities Minister to show her the project and to discuss how we can create projects like this right across the UK under a Labour Government. 

He's been involved from the start.

The announcement of Remploy's closure came in March 2012. That was when he got together with the workers and their union GMB to start planning the co-operative if the closure went ahead.

With support from the Co-operative Enterprise Hub they got the Co-op registered, a business plan written and start-up funding. Alex, the GMB and the ex-Remploy workers, together with fellow Co-op Cllr Neil Dawson,  secured Business Rate Relief and the workers secured premises and contracts for work.

Enabled Works now undertake a range of services including electrical and mechanical assembly working with some of Leeds largest businesses including Premier Farnell and Straight PLC.

They are looking to grow. But without the Co-op none of them would be employed at all. Remploy Employment Services have failed to secure employment for the vast majority of workers who were made redundant by the closures of Remploy plants.

Alex has been delighted with the progress of Enabled Works.

And they've been pretty appreciative of him, too.

'We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Alex, some people just talk but Alex does what he says he will do to help you.'

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