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Boss of park home builder Omar says firm could offer jobs to Palmer & Harvey staff in Brandon

Omar Group chairman and chief executive Dean Westmoreland. Picture: Danny Harris

Omar Group chairman and chief executive Dean Westmoreland. Picture: Danny Harris

Danny Harris/Omar Group

Workers who lost their jobs just weeks before Christmas have been offered a helping hand from a neighbouring manufacturer.

The 148 staff at collapsed wholesaler Palmer & Harvey’s distribution centre in Brandon all stand to lose their jobs – with 127 having been made redundant when the company brought in administrators on Tuesday.

Meanwhile retail experts have predicted a “crisis” for small companies supplied by the business.

But the boss at park homes maker Omar Group, which is based close to the distribution centre on Wimbledon Avenue, has indicated his company could provide job opportunities for those made redundant, and would even look at taking on the site for its own expansion.

Chief executive Dean Westmoreland said he was approached by James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, about the possibility of taking on Palmer & Harvey workers.

“We heard the Palmer & Harvey news and I was disappointed and upset, particularly given what happened at Multiyork in Thetford last week, another business on our doorstep,” he said.

“I hate to think of people without a job at Christmas.

“We are very fortunate that our business has been in a constant state of expansion for the last five years so at the moment we have a number of vacancies – some skilled, some semi-skilled and some more senior roles.”

Mr Westmoreland said training could be given to successful applicants, and that the company was also opening up more apprenticeship positions as part of plans to increase its workforce from 425 to more than 500.

He also said there was a “possibility” that Omar, which is expecting sales growth of 25% this year, could consider taking on the vacated Palmer & Harvey site to enable expansion of its building operations.

Mr Waters said the council’s economic growth team was contacting other large local employers to see if they are recruiting now, or are likely to be in the near future.

“We are also working with our partners, including the Jobcentre to offer a package of support. This will include directing people on advice and our own grants should they wish to consider starting their own business.

“So while it is a sad day for Brandon and those directly affected, we will be working hard to do all we can to help,” he said.

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