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Royal British Legion Industries secures sign making contract for Network Rail

By Claire McWethy

A social enterprise in Kent has secured a multi-million pound contract to make signs for Network Rail.

Britain's Bravest Manufacturing Company (BBMC), the manufacturing division of charity Royal British Legion Industries, is set to become the sole provider of lineside signage for the firm, which owns the majority of the British railway network.

BBMC, which has provided signs for the company for more than 25 years, employs 120 people – more than 70% of whom are ex-service personnel, or have a physical or mental disability.

Signmaking at the RBLI
Signmaking at the RBLI

Geoff Streetley, director of BBMC, said it is important to recognise the benefits in purchasing from social enterprises.

He said: “As we are solely a not-for-profit enterprise, any surplus we make is immediately reinvested back into the company to give ex-service personnel and people with disabilities the opportunity to find sustained and rewarding employment – whether that is directly through BBMC or through the various employment services we offer at RBLI.”

“We are appreciative of Network Rail for recognising the knowledge, technical ability and the hard-working attitude of a commercially successful group of people who can be too often pushed aside in the world of work.”

This announcement comes just weeks after BBMC reached a significant milestone in its history, as for the first time it amassed a £5 million turnover in a single year. Its team of 16 people produces up to 40,000 signs each year.

Former transport minister Patrick McLoughlin MP visits the road and rail signs factory
Former transport minister Patrick McLoughlin MP visits the road and rail signs factory

Former Royal Engineer Tim Brown, who was diagnosed with PTSD after serving the Armed Forces for 23 years, joined BBMC as a team leader in 2016.

Tim said: “I have done things and seen things in my life that most people wouldn’t dream of, and to come somewhere like this – it’s peaceful, calm and safe – and to be part of that is brilliant.

“I do think there are people here who may find it difficult to sustain a mainstream job, outside of RBLI – here disabilities are catered for and people are cared for.

“Without them I would be finding it difficult myself to find a job that I could hold down. It’s an amazing place to work because everybody looks after each other and cares about each other, from the very top to the bottom.

“I come to work with a smile – I never did that when I was doing any other job, which says it all really.”

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