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Former Thamesteel worker, Mick Terry, tells of struggle and despair of a life post redundancy after the Brielle Way, Sheerness, site closed

By Emma Grove

Mick Terry was one of hundreds of people who lost their jobs when Thamesteel closed in January 2012.

The firm in Brielle Way, Sheerness, went into administration and 350 staff were made redundant without receiving their month’s wages.

There’s still no definitive answer on what is happening with the site and many workers are still trying to get their lives back on track.

Former Thamesteel worker Mick Terry
Former Thamesteel worker Mick Terry

But for 59-year-old Mick this is not proving easy and he’s now reached a point where he’s worried he could lose his house.

He started at the mill in 1986 and left when it first went into receivership in 2002.

After a stint in security for the site, he was taken back on in dispatch in 2006 and worked his way round various departments until the company’s demise in 2012.

Since then, he says he’s applied for hundreds of jobs but has been knocked back again and again and he’s now getting to the point where he’s fearful he will never get back into work.

“It’s been pretty horrific being unemployed for all that time,” he said.

“I keep getting knocked back all the time and it’s just devastating.

“I didn’t think I would struggle this much to get something else.”

The former Thamesteel mill in Brielle Way, Sheerness
The former Thamesteel mill in Brielle Way, Sheerness

It has been a tough few years for Mick, of Invicta Road, Sheerness, as he has suffered problems with his own health as well as dealing with the death of two siblings.

His eldest sister June passed away just before he lost his job.

She had shared the care of their other sister, Christine, who had disabilities, with him and it fell to him after her death.

Christine’s health took a turn for the worse and after a bout of pneumonia, she too passed away in August 2012.

This series of events took its toll on Mick, and he was diagnosed with depression and prescribed medication, which meant he was entitled to receive employment and support allowance, relieving the immediate pressure of having to find work.

By 2013, his benefit ran out and as he was feeling better, was signed off by his GP.

He signed up for Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) and continued his search for employment, signing up with agencies, enrolling on courses to improve his skills and relentlessly applying for various positions with no luck.

At the end of October 2013, his JSA ran out and his new claim was refused due to the amount of savings he had.

He is now having to live off these and is becoming increasingly concerned about what will happen to him when they run out.

“Despite my best efforts and with my past experience and current skills, I still cannot get anyone to give me a chance,” he said.

“I want to work, I like to work and I need to work.

“I know I have got good skills but nobody will give me a chance – I’m just getting so desperate now.”

Mick is worried his age is having an impact on his job search and also says the fact he doesn’t drive makes it more difficult.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do once my savings are gone or what I’m going to live on.

“I just want someone to give me the chance to show them I am still willing and able to do a good day’s work.”

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