Rotherham is the vinyl frontier for ex-steelworkers

Published Wednesday, 21st December 2016
Leader with ex steelworkers who opened new record stall
Ian (left) and Jason with Council Leader Chris Read (centre)

Two former TATA steelworkers from Kimberworth are turning the tables on redundancy after setting up their own business in Rotherham’s indoor market.

Ian Hawkridge (46) and Jason Sayles (45) have been friends for many years and shared a mutual interest in music and record collecting so when the pair were made redundant in March, it was a natural step for them to set up their own vinyl record business.

"We've known each other for years, even before working at TATA,” said Jason. “And we’ve both always been interested in music."

Ian added: "We thought there was a gap in the market for vinyl record sales in Rotherham – people are becoming more and more interested in vinyl again and the last vinyl record shop closed down more than ten years ago. The response from customers so far has been great."

Both Ian and Jason attended a self-employment “taster session” for steelworkers at a special resource centre which was set up at Aldwarke by the TATA Taskforce. Ian also took part in a “start-up” workshop and met with business start-up advisor, Martyn Benson, from Rotherham Council’s regeneration arm RiDO, before their idea for the record business got off the ground.

Bob Langley (RiDO Business Adviser) will be following up on the initial advice by providing further support to Ian and Jason on developing their business.  

Ian and Jason secured their unit in the indoor market and as new stallholders, qualified for two months free rent and charges to help them launch the business, as well as ongoing support from Rotherham Council’s Retail Investment Team.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Chris Read, who chaired the TATA Taskforce, said he was very pleased to see the former steelworkers starting up a new business in Rotherham.

"The issues at TATA have made the past year a very difficult time for workers and their families. The partners involved in the TATA Taskforce have been making every effort to help those affected by helping people find alternative jobs, access training, or simply highlighting new opportunities so this is a real good news story."

Cllr Denise Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy, added that she was excited to see the town’s first vinyl record store in a number of years opening up.

"I'm really pleased to see this new business getting off the ground in Rotherham," said Cllr Lelliott. "Vinyl records are making a real comeback and this new stall is a great addition to the many and varied businesses on offer at Rotherham Markets."

Almost 700 staff were made redundant within TATA's Rotherham and Stocksbridge plants following restructuring announced in 2015. Support for those facing redundancy has also been offered through a series of job fairs, and a Taskforce Resource Centre which was set up.

One-to-one support has been given to help people prepare their CVs, whilst visitors to the centre have been able to access training funding.

The TATA Taskforce chaired by Cllr Read involved John Healey MP, Rotherham and Sheffield Councils, Sheffield City Region LEP, the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, UK Steel Enterprise, Government agencies, the Skills Funding Agency, Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber, trade unions and TATA Steel.