Adam builds on solid start for unemployed

The team at AF Recycling - Rob Lawrie, Matt Stenton, Jason Wragg, Adam Fleming, Scott Sherwin, Ralph Hewkin, Rob Moss and Dane Currie.
The team at AF Recycling - Rob Lawrie, Matt Stenton, Jason Wragg, Adam Fleming, Scott Sherwin, Ralph Hewkin, Rob Moss and Dane Currie.

A BUSINESSMAN determined to help jobless people has overcome major funding setbacks to do just that.

Adam Fleming managed to set up his own business and provide work and training for several recruits while promoting green practices at the same time.

He previously worked for social enterprise Elixir which, among other things, supports the long-term unemployed through various initiatives.

Once on board, Adam set about helping to build on the company’s success. “I knew we needed a labour-intensive process which would help their employment model to grow so we looked at recycling,” he explained. In a year the company had achieved a £1.5m turnover and employed 575 people across the country.

When a chance came to expand the initiative to Doncaster, thanks to the Future Jobs Fund, 90 jobs were created. People aged 18 to 25 secured work and took courses in a range of industry skills from forklift truck driving to first aid.

But when the coalition government was established and sweeping financial cuts announced, the funding source for the Doncaster project came to an end.

Determined to explore other avenues to salvage something from the situation, Adam partnered with Ways To Work which helped him to fund 35 jobs and develop a model to grow a sustainable business in the region.

“It was a tough time but the reality was I couldn’t just let go of everything,” he explained.

He decided to start his own commercial business, holding on to some members of the initial team. Local firm John Thompson Skips let the venture trade from its premises for six months while Adam built up the business. He secured investment, including £89,000 from the Regional Growth Fund, to establish AF Recyling at the Wright Business Park in Carr Hill.

“Our investors and the banks have been pivotal in our success,” said Adam. “This was especially true at the beginning, when you have to get the right equipment for the job.

“It is a credit to the team - which is far smaller now than the 90 I had employed when I arrived in Doncaster - and their tenacity in those early days that we were able to turn things around,” he added.

AF Recycling now produces about 70 tonnes of recycled materials each week, saving companies long-haul trips to other recycling sites or landfill.

It has also partnered with EcoDon Recyling after helping former volunteer Ralph Hewkin to set up his own business. The two companies employ nine staff.