Prime Minister Boris Johnson has written a letter to Aberdeen social enterprise, Glencraft, to congratulate the organisation for winning a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
The PM also paid tribute to Glencraft’s former chairman Duncan Skinner who died last month, age 63.
In a letter to managing director Graham McWilliam sent on Downing Street headed notepaper, Mr Johnson said: “I am writing to congratulate you and your team at Glencraft for achieving The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Promoting Opportunity category.
“I understand that Glencraft has previously been recognised by the Royal Family in the form of a Royal Warrant, having supplied their mattresses for four generations.
“This Queen’s Award further recognises your important work in providing opportunities to local people in Aberdeen. Glencraft richly deserves this recognition for its outstanding achievements as a business, social enterprise and charity, as well as your use of sustainable and ethically sourced materials.
“I would also like to offer my condolences on the passing of Glencraft chairman, Duncan Skinner. The achievement of The Queen’s Award is a fitting tribute to the man who helped save your social enterprise 11 years ago and contribute to its many successes.”
Mr McWilliam said the letter had given everyone associated with Glencraft a welcome boost.
He added: “It’s not every day you get a letter from the Prime Minister. We very much appreciate the recognition of our achievement and thank the Prime Minister for his kind words about Duncan, whose loss has been felt by us all at Glencraft and in the wider Aberdeen community.”
Glencraft, which makes luxury bed mattresses, has offered employment and support to disadvantaged people across the North-east for 178 years. The charity faced closure in 2010 after Aberdeen City Council pulled a substantial grant due to a funding review. The campaign, led by Mr Skinner and others, to save the charity and introduce a more professional approach secured its future.
A total of 30 of the Glencraft team of 38 come from disadvantaged backgrounds in relation to health or social economic challenges.
Glencraft won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility) for its commitment to supporting people from under-represented groups, while providing development and training support to its staff and a sustainable business model.
The social enterprise sells more than 5,000 mattresses per year. It is a recognised as a luxury mattress brand – with sales to five-star hotels and multi-year distribution agreements with companies in South Korea and China. Clients include The Fife Arms in Braemar, The Balmoral in Edinburgh and Brown’s Hotel in London’s Mayfair district.
The handmade luxury mattresses, incorporate UK-sourced natural materials such as horsehair, mohair, cashmere, wool and alpaca wool.
Based in the city’s Mastrick area, the not-for-profit social enterprise, which also manufactures divans and headboards, is self-funded apart from a training support grant.
It was Mr Skinner’s idea to enter the awards, and he was told the social enterprise had been successful a few days before he passed away following a year-long battle with cancer.