A BED manufacturer has secured a place on a Scottish Government framework that could mean up to £5m of new business over the next year.
Newcastle-based Palatine Beds has been included in a new, national framework for Scotland that encourages public bodies to buy goods and services from businesses employing disabled people.
The Scottish Government’s framework, known as The Reserved Framework for Supported Factories and Businesses, has an estimated value of £5m per annum, with £20m of work anticipated over the maximum possible framework period of four years.
It will make it easier for the public sector to identify when a business where more than 50% of the workers are disabled may be able to supply needs, and will assist with the process of buying their products and services.
Palatine Beds originally opened as the Council Workshop for the Blind and remains a supported business today, with 70% of its workforce having a declared disability.
Inclusion in the framework means it can supply the entire Scottish public sector, including police, fire and rescue, the NHS, universities, colleges and registered charities looking to procure mattresses and bases. Andrew Waters, sales and marketing manager with Palatine, said: “We supply a lot of mattresses to the south, which is hundreds of miles away, but not into Scotland, which is right on our doorstep. This particular framework has been well publicised and we’re hoping to get a lot of work out of it.
“The potential business benefits as a result of being included in the framework are fantastic and we’re very hopeful that an increased workload will mean we’re able to offer more employment opportunities to disabled people in the North East. If we do get the work, the plan is to hire six more people in the next 12 months, sales permitting.
“We’ve also just found out this week that we’ve won some work with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) suppling up to 300 mattresses a month over a 10-year agreement. This will bring in £150,000 worth of revenue every year.”
The framework covers four product groups: textiles and personal protection equipment, document management, furniture and associated products and signage.
Jane Collinson, national chair of the British Association for Supported Employment, said: “We worked extensively with the Scottish Government on this and think the framework is a groundbreaking move that should be used as a blueprint elsewhere in the UK.”
Palatine Beds was established as an adult workshop for the blind after local entrepreneur George Handyside, of Newton-on-the-Moor in Northumberland, bequeathed £10,000 in 1905 after his death the year before.