Axminster Carpets: Aid meeting called

PUBLISHED: 09:49 20 March 2013 | UPDATED: 10:29 20 March 2013

Axminster Carpets workers and their families during their rally outside the Guildhall before the redundancies were announced.  Photo by Chris Carson

Axminster Carpets workers and their families during their rally outside the Guildhall before the redundancies were announced. Photo by Chris Carson


Current and ex employees are invited to The Guildhall to discuss their concerns and offer emotional support

Organisers are hoping for a big turnout at a meeting tomorrow (Thursday, March 21) called to help those affected by the massive job losses at Axminster Carpets.

The town’s health and wellbeing centre has arranged the gathering at the Guildhall, between 10.30am and 12.30pm.

It is open to current carpet factory workers, ex employees and their families and is aimed at giving them a voice within the community. It will be run by Tim Coath and Derek Branker, former carpet employees.

Aynsley Jones, of the health and wellbeing centre said: “The meeting is primarily to give emotional support to each other at this time and to be able to exchange information.

“There will also be feedback boxes for all attending the meeting to voice their needs within the community and this will then assist in how the community can best move forward. This meeting will be closed to the general public but is vital that it is well attended so people can be heard.”

Mrs Jones, who also organises the town’s Canned Sunshine foodbank, said that since the redundancies of some 300 Axminster Carpets workers – both in the town and at Buckfast - there had been mixed emotions and many who have lost their jobs were “grappling with a new world”.

She told The Herald “Many people feel they are alone in this situation but they are not. Last week the food bank fed over 120 people amounting to over 2 per cent of the Axminster population based on figures of 5,656 from the district council.

“We estimate that there could be a peak of three per cent over the following weeks but will return to just under one per cent within five weeks.

“The food bank still needs items such as rice, powdered or UHT milk, tinned pulses, canned fruit or vegetables, gravy granules, pasta sauces and Easter eggs.

“The next 5 weeks will be a busy time for the food bank but we will continue to ensure we provide an equal, confidential and impartial service.

“ The food bank would like to thank the Canned Sunshine volunteers, who have been working round the clock to ensure everyone can be catered for, the community for all their donations, Co-op who have our orange collection boxes, the local schools, Tesco who are extending their collection for the next five weeks, Axminster Tool Centre for emergency boxes and all the food banks in the area who have offered their support.

“It’s amazing what communities can achieve when they work together.”

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