The foundry industry is being kept alive in the district thanks to financial backing from an ethical lender
Specialised Castings Ltd of Denny, the last traditional iron foundry in the area, has secured the jobs of 26 staff and plans to recruit more thanks to £30,000 backing from DSL Business Finance.
The firm rose from the ashes of the Falcon Catering business in Foundry Loan, Larbert. It closed in 2001 as work shifted first to England and then, after massive new factories were built, to China and India.
Steve Waring was foundry manager and decided to take over the business, relocating it lock, stock and barrel to a derelict paper mill on the banks of the Carron.
He brought 16 highly skilled foundry workers with him, including 76-year-old Charlie Finlay, who started in the industry as a 14-year-old and continues working today making complex moulds for high integrity castings.
Steve (61) said: “When I decided to take over the foundry everyone said I was mad as manufacturing was a thing of the past and I’d never be able to compete with the high volume industry developing in countries such as China, India and Taiwan. But I’ve worked in the industry all my life so knew there was a market supplying specialised products to people who can’t get what they want from the high-volume low-price set-up abroad.”
He has now hired four young people, including an apprentice patternmaker.
DSL was approached for backing after banks reduced small business lending due to the financial downturn.
The Glasgow-based lender runs a £1.5 million loan fund helping small and start-up businesses create jobs and investment, particularly in disadvantaged areas.
Steve added: “I don’t think we would be here if DSL hadn’t backed us.”
Eunice Lancaster of DSL said; “We have an ethical and prudent approach to lending. We operate to high financial standards and have a rigorous loan application process.”