A Saltburn couple, who both worked at the former SSI site, have danced into a new business thanks to support from the SSI Task Force and their daughter’s passion for ballet.

Anne-Marie Tyler (37) and husband John (44) found themselves out of work following the closure of SSI but their daughter’s budding dance career inspired them to set up their own business.

Anne-Marie had worked at SSI for more than 12 years, in different departments including HR, records, facilities and the visitor centre while John worked for 5 years as a shift fitter engineer.

12-year-old daughter Amelia, a talented ballerina who won a scholarship to attend a ballet school in Birmingham, complained about the lack of good equipment for practicing at home, leading John to make a ‘pro stretch’ for her.

This led to interest from fellow dancers and a local dance shop and the business was born. The demand has led to the outsourcing of manufacturing to a local engineering company and home and studio Ballet Barres introduced to the product range.

John initially approached the Task Force for support to start a plastering business to bring in an income for the couple while he looked for permanent work.

Anne-Marie Tyler said:  “John was so full of praise for the SSI Task Force and the proactive support and guidance he received that I was completely confident approaching the team to turn Amelia’s home-made ballet equipment into a viable business.   They were amazing and have been a real source of help and advice.

“The response to the pro stretch and ballet barres has been fantastic and I’m really pleased to be in a position to launch the website and reach a much wider customer base.

“It seemed like the end of the world when we both lost our jobs but it has been the start of a new and exciting adventure and I can’t thank the Task Force enough for everything they have done.”

Amanda Skelton, Chief Executive of Redcar and Cleveland Council and Chair of the SSI Task Force, said: “I would like to congratulate John and Anne-Marie for their vision and courage. They have worked incredibly hard to get this new business off the ground and the Task Force has been delighted to help.

“I would like to wish them, and budding Prima Ballerina Amelia, every success in the future and hope that their experience will inspire others.”

The SSI Task Force aims to help workers and families affected by the closure of SSI, support and funding is still available, to find out more please visit, www.SSITaskForce.co.uk

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