Blackadders advises on employee ownership deal

Blackadders has supported the recent move to employee ownership by Glasgow-based Aspire Housing and Personal Development Services.

Owner Peter Millar transferred 100 per cent of his shareholding to an employee ownership trust (EOT), in a move that means that all of the employees are now the owners of Aspire.

Aspire was established in 2002 by Mr Millar who has over 47 years’ experience in social work and community care. He had previously founded The Richmond Fellowship Scotland in 1993 and built that organisation up over a 13 years period.

Mr Millar had considered a number of options before opting to sell his shareholding in the company to an EOT.

He said: “We are pretty unique at Aspire. We are totally person-centred, whether that’s with our employees or with the people we support. We believe that employee ownership is entirely consistent with who we are as a company. It allows us to embed our ethos and values into the constitution of the company. I’m confident we made the right move and it’s encouraging to see how positive our people are about our decision.”

As part of the move, Aspire promoted four of its senior managers to board positions, and two employees of the company have been democratically elected by Aspire’s Employee Forum to sit on the trust.

Mr Millar and his senior management team were highly complimentary about the advice and support received from Blackadders, and from Sarah Winter in particular.

He said: “Blackadders support was invaluable throughout our employee ownership journey.

“Sarah’s ability to fully understand our objectives and concerns and then provide advice taking those into account and diligently dealing with our instructions has been enormously helpful in getting us to what we all believe is an ideal outcome.”

The transaction was also supported by Andrew Ewing and Gillian Hadden of Johnston Carmichael and specialist employee ownership support provided by Carole Leslie of Ownership Associates. Funding support for an element of the project costs was provided by Scottish Enterprise.

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