Cadbury Brothers moved their factory from Bridge Street in Birmingham to a country location, in order to improve the quality of life of their employees and other incomers. Families in the new town, Bournville, had houses with yards, gardens, and fresh air – improvements in living conditions which enhanced public health.

bournville js 1To this day, the town offers affordable housing. Figures published in 1915 show that the general death rate and infant mortality for Bournville was significantly lower than that for Birmingham as a whole, over a five-year period. Bournville Junior School (entrance left) was founded by factory owner George Cadbury in 1906 and built with pride, to provide high quality education which was forward looking and tolerant.

Training and employment opportunities multiplied as the factory site became a series of ‘factories within a factory’; everything needed for the business was produced on site. This policy continued until well after the second World War, when – deplored in hindsight – it was considered advisable to use specialised ‘outside’ suppliers.

dumfries  work in progress

In 2007, another philanthropist mobilised a consortium of charities and heritage bodies to buy Dumfries House near a former coal-mining town with 16% unemployment, which according to Strathclyde University, “suffers from social deprivation and widespread degradation of the built environment and associated infrastructure”.

dumfries traineeDumfries House is now employing and training many young people who come from families with three generations of unemployed. They usually progress from apprenticeships to full-time employment.

An engineering centre is being created to revive skills in an industry considered vital to the country, counteracting the prevailing view in education that engineering is dirty and manufacturing ‘dead and gone’.

An outdoors centre, a cookery school, mill, woodyard, cookshop, training allotments and vegetable patches for gardeners have been created – a comprehensive business, social and environmental approach designed to kick-start regeneration in impoverished East Ayrshire, where mining communities once flourished.

dumfries allotments

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