Mayfield social enterprise hit by row over ‘slave labour’

McSense Business Park, Sycamore Road. Mayfield.
McSense Business Park, Sycamore Road. Mayfield.

The founder of McSence has expressed his shock that it uses a government scheme making unemployed people work for their benefits.

The Mayfield social enterprise has been using a ‘workfare’ scheme, with up to 20 people on it working there at a time.

While the current board defended the scheme as “a valuable opportunity” for people, Brian Tannerhill MBE, who founded the company in 1988 and was its chief executive until he retired in 2011,has called on the local community to make their feelings known.

He said: “This breaks my heart. I spent 25 years building this group of companies from my own small ideas to a multi-million pound asset owned by our community.

“What are the directors thinking of? This was not what McSence was intended for.

“The directors are accountable to everyone living in the community of Mayfield and Easthouses who are prepared to pay a one pound annual membership and I call on them all now, to stand up and tell the directors this scheme is not acceptable in our community or anywhere else.

“This must stop now.”

A McSence statement said: “The people who take part in our programme are given a valuable opportunity to gain the skills and experience and most importantly confidence in a work-based environment, as well as the support to help them into employment.

“It should also be noted that there have been some positive outcomes where McSence has employed a few people from this programme.”

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