Eighty jobs go at Axminster Carpets

Axminster Carpets Ltd. Picture: Chris Carson

Axminster Carpets Ltd. Picture: Chris Carson - Credit: Archant

Axminster Carpets today (Wednesday, February 19) went into administration, with 80 staff being made redundant.

Benjamin Wiles and Geoff Bouchier, of Duff and Phelps, have been appointed joint administrators of the company.

The administrators today sold the underlay division of the company, Axfelt, to Ulster Carpets and announced an anticipated sale of the Axminster Carpet Shop to Wilton Flooring.

While the administrators continue to seek a buyer for the remaining assets and brand, they have made the remaining around 80 workers at the Axminster manufacturing site redundant.

A small number of employees will continue to work through the company's order book.

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The business, which was founded in 1755, specialises in the manufacture of woven carpets using traditional techniques and natural materials. The historic carpeting business has supplied many familiar names and businesses over decades, including Buckingham Palace.

Benjamin Wiles said: "Despite a number of expressions of interest no acceptable offer for the core carpet business has been received, leaving no option but to appoint administrators while the remaining options are explored.

"The administrators have had to come to the decision that the best possible option for maximising the realisations for the company's creditors was the immediate sale of its underlay business to Ulster Carpets and the redundancy of the majority of the existing workforce.

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"We are continuing to explore all potential options for all or part of the remaining business and assets including the historic brand name itself."

Following today's announcement, East Devon District Council will be facilitating a range of support options to members of staff facing redundancy.

To manage this process, the council is re-convening a support network, which will give staff the opportunity to access direct support, advice and guidance to help them through this difficult period.

EDDC is bringing together a group of relevant organisations, who will be available at the Axminster Job Club at Pippins, Lyme Road, Axminster on Thursday, February 27.

This session will be repeated over the following weeks as many times as is necessary to ensure that the needs of all redundant staff are met.

Affected staff will be offered the opportunity to come and speak one to one with representatives from the following organisations to find out about universal credit/benefits, council tax, options for retraining and skills development, finding alternative work, support for self-employment.

The council wants to encourage all staff, including those unable to attend the event, to speak to the right people and organisations who will understand their individual situations and who are best placed to offer advice and valuable practical support.

EDDC officers will be there to listen to affected staff and to understand their situations.

Then they will be referred to the most appropriate sources of support.

The council can tell staff about other local employers and will offer free hot desking/workspace at the East Devon Business Centre in Honiton.

A council officer will also be present to advise on council tax, housing benefit and universal credit.

Business Information Point is providing a qualified business support advisor to discuss options for self-employment.

A Job Centre Plus representative will share information on finding work in Devon.

Citizen's Advice will offer qualified advice and assistance on a wide range of issues and areas from benefits to housing, information for families and much more.

The National Careers Service will also provide support.

Education + Training Skills can discuss providing individuals with free bespoke training and employability skills packages.

Learn Devon will be on hand to discuss opportunities for adult learning, qualifications and skills.

Axminster Job Club can offer free help and advice on CV writing and finding work in/around Axminster.

Trade union community can also provide support to members.

Cllr Kevin Blakey, East Devon District Council's economy spokesman said: "We are deeply saddened at the news of further redundancies at Axminster Carpets.

"East Devon District Council responded in October 2019 with a programme of support for employees affected by redundancy at that time.

"We are now working with a range of partner organisations to widen our support via a series of redundancy support events at Axminster Job Club for as long as the support is required.

"We recognise that finding alternative employment is a daunting task for those facing redundancy, but we are keen that the skills and expertise of the highly trained workforce are recognised by other prospective employers who undoubtedly can benefit from this pool of talent."

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