Grim News – Hundreds Made Redundant At Airport Firm

Breaking news in the Echo:

HUNDREDS of jobs have been lost after a leading firm at Southend Airport went into administration.

Workers at aircraft maintenance company ATC Lasham were called into a meeting this morning and made redundant – being told to leave immediately.

A statement from administrators Nigel Morrison and Richard Lewis of Grant Thornton UK LLP said the company has 383 staff – at Lasham in Hampshire and Southend Airport.

Shocked and upset employees told the Echo there were already administrators in the building, off Eastwoodbury Crescent, today.


Full report here.


Would You Like To Answer 999 Calls? Essex Police Are Looking For Control Room Staff

essex police logo

From the Essex Police website:

Communications Officer Vacancies

30 hours per week (part-time), 24/7 shift pattern Chelmsford

Starting salary £17,361 (pro rata), plus 20% shift allowance and additional weekend working enhancements

About the Force Control Room

The Force Control Room opened in July 1997 bringing single tier control to Essex Police and handles approximately two thousand public telephone calls every day.

We are one of the first Police units to provide a response to the victims of crime therefore it is easy to see why the role of Communications Officer is so important. The FCR is one of the main hubs of operational policing in Essex and plays a pivotal role in delivering front line services to the community…

Memories Of Matchbox?


There’s a trick question – “Which company in the world makes the most car tyres?” The answer isn’t Dunlop, or Michelin- it’s Lego. In the same way the company that made the most cars in Britain used to be in Rochford. It was Lesney, who made Matchbox toys.

A chap called David Murphy is trying to create an archive of personal testimonies about Lesneys:

Hello everyone. I’m currently putting together an archive of testimonies from former employees at the Lesney Matchbox factories in Rochford and East London. After a promising response from East London’s community resources about the factories there, I hoped placing a notice on the RDCA might extend the project out to those who worked at the Rochford/Southend plants and who might still remain in the area.

I think this is a hugely valuable part of British Industrial Heritage, and from what I have seen, it is also under-represented in our local history archives. This, along with my love of the toys themselves, motivated me to begin doing something myself, and is what brought me here. The project is still really in its early stages, but I hope that by making contact with relevant individuals, it can be possible to help preserve this important part of social and manufacturing history for future generations to learn about.

An important element of the archive is hearing – and potentially recording – the memories and recollections of former employees and those associated with the Lesney factories in Hackney.

– Did you or a family member work at Lesney’s?
– Did you or a family member work with an associated industry, or as part of the Lesney supply chain?
– Do you have any documentation, photography or film that’s related to the Rochford/Hackney factory in any way?
– Do you have any other material that might be of interest?

If you, or someone you know would like to contribute to this important project please post here, or alternatively feel free to contact me directly on 07881751666 , send an email to , or write to us at 60 Stamford Hill, London, N16 6XS. Thanks in advance, David

There’s some comments about it here on the Rochford District Community Archive.

A Bit Of Good News

… The number of people in our district claiming Job Seekers Allowance has fallen a little

in the past 12 months:

In August 2012 there were  1139 claimants (2.2 % of working age population.

This August there were only 952 claimants (1.9% 0f working population).

By comparison, the figure for the East of England is 2.6%  (down from 3.0%) and the figure for Great Britain is 3.3 % (down from 3.8%)

3 Vacancies

For those people looking for a job , the District Council has 3 vacancies – one position as a Revenues & Benefits Assistant, and two positions as Payments & Income Assistants. (one of which is part-time).

More details on the council vacancies page here.

A Career On The Thames?

This might interest young job seekers – from the Port of London Authority website yesterday:

< blockquote>The Port of London Authority (PLA) is joining a drive to encourage young job seekers to look to the Thames for their career.
The port authority ….will be hosting a careers Open Day at its Gravesend navigation and marine services bases on Thursday 18 July.
Twenty four Thames-based companies will be exhibiting on the PLA’s Royal Terrace Pier, promoting their services and introducing real-world working skills and career paths to businesses, jobseekers and those in education. Among those exhibiting will be DP World who are currently developing the new £1.5 billion London Gateway Port in Essex and marine services company, Red 7 Marine.
Places on the programme, which starts at 11 am, are limited and can be booked by email here
Those who secure a place will visit/see the PLA’s:

Shot-blasting bay
Divers’ area, incorporating the decompression tank
TOSCA (Oil Spill Response)
Salvage vessel
Boat lift / boat mover
Hydrographic set-up
Vessel Traffic Services

So if you know someone who might be interested, they need to look at the PLA website and email for a place on the programme.

18 – 24 And Seeking A Job?

SeeJobGroup are looking for a total of 16 young adults, aged between 18-24 years, for their SeeChange Plan in Rochford.

The SeeChange Plan provides professional coaching to any job seeker aged 18-24. Their goal is to support each young adult on their transition to the next stage of their life; this might be paid work, work experience, voluntary work, training or study. They also provide £3 travel money, which is contributed to each day the person attends the SeeChange Plan (upon ticket or receipt for travel)

Currently, 80% of their group members are landing jobs.

If you know someone who might be interested please email or telephone 07957 498340.

Bullwood Hall To Close

As the Guardian reports here, Bullwood Hall Prison in Hockley is to be closed by this March.

This is obviously bad news for the staff who work there; we understand some may be offered transfers to other jails or to take voluntary redundancy packages.

It may also have an impact on the District Council’s core strategy. The Bullwood Hall site is a ‘brownfield site’ in the Green Belt. Although we can’t see the District Council giving a reprieve to Rawreth or to Hullbridge ,because the general locations have already been chosen. But this site could conceivably be used in the future, to avoid another site from being selected elsewhere.

Unemployment News

Some good news today nationally! There has been a surprise fall in unemployment .

Youth unemployment is also down , as the Guardian explains:

The ONS data also showed that youth unemployment improved, with the number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work falling below a million in the three months to August, down 62,000 compared with March to May. That took the jobless rate among young people down to 20.5% from 21.8%.

The Guardian also has information on a district-by-district basis:

As you can see, youth unemployment is starting to drop in South-East Essex, except in Rochford, where the figures are unchanged. But the figures for young people still out of work and claiming after 6 months are still creeping up.

Future Employment Land In West Rayleigh….

One of the issues discussed at the LDF sub-committee last night was about which land should be used for new industrial / commercial / office uses in the future.

It was agreed that:

  • The farmland to the north-east of the Carpenters Arms roundabout should NOT be used , because of loss of agricultural land and the impact on the Green Belt.
  • The land at Michelins Farm (that’s the semi-derelict land to the north-west of the Fairglen Interchange, where there is a lorry parked in a field for showing advertising) SHOULD be used. The intention being to use this land for a new waste transfer station (i.e. a new recycling centre if the one in Castle Road is closed) and for other noisy / dirty/ unneighbourly industrial uses.
  • Open land on either side of Swallow Nurseries in London Road should be used for new offices. This was agreed by the sub-committee as a whole, though Chris Black voted against, for traffic reasons.
  • These recommendations now go to full council.

    Unemployment – Two Constituencies, Still Big Differences.

    The Guardian has the latest unemployment figures, broken down for each constituency.

    In Rayleigh and Wickford the situation is still fairly reasonable. Only 2.1 percent of people are claiming benefit , though the number is going up slightly.
    But in Rochford and Southend East the figure has risen to 6.4 percent, and is going up faster.

    Here is the information in more detail:

    Rayleigh and Wickford :
    2.7% of men claiming benefits
    1.6 % of women claiming benefits
    Total number of people : 1,294
    Overall % of people 2.1% A increase of 8.6 % in the past 12 months.

    Rochford and Southend East:
    8.7% of men claiming benefits
    4.1 % of women claiming benefits
    Total number of people : 3,832
    Overall % of people 6.4% A increase of 13.1 % in the past 12 months.


    Bad news today.

    Fountains, the company that is the grounds maintenance contractor in our district, has gone into administration.

    They have the contracts for a number of councils around the country – another one is Norwich. In some cases the contracts are being taken over by another company, OCS Group – but this isn’t happening in Rochford.

    Our hearts go out tonight to the employees of Fountains.

    As far as the council is concerned, senior offficers of the council are in urgent meetings, making sure that arrangements are in place for the really urgent stuff, such as issues involving the cemetery.

    In the long term councillors will have to decide what to do with the contract.