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John Legg Chimney Sweeping

John Legg from Summergate Road in Annan had to consider his options for a new career when leaving Chapelcross after 25 years at the site.

John said, "I was aware that more and more people were going back to open fires or having wood burning stoves installed in their homes and decided to explore the opportunities to set up in business as a chimney sweep."

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Lorna Argente at PACE helped him to consider some options. John then received business support and advice from Bev Bamford at the CX Project and Heather Richardson at Business Gateway before starting up his own business: John Legg Chimney Sweeping. The CX Project has been supporting workers from Chapelcross in moving on to new careers.

JobCentre Plus helped John towards the costs of attending comprehensive training course with the National Association of Chimney Sweeps and carry out many hours of practical experience. More recently he has received advice from Neil Johns on the New Enterprise Allowance scheme.

John said "After so long with the same employer I was worried about my future. I'm really enjoying my new career and it just goes to show that old dogs can learn new tricks!"

"I have a fire myself and understood the importance of having it serviced regularly to eliminate the risk of a chimney fire and prevent any fumes and gases such as the silent killer carbon monoxide leaking back into the house."

John Grierson from Magnox Ltd is Site Director at Chapelcross said, "As we continue to decommission the plant we understand that people leaving this industry will need assistance to retrain and/or set up their own business. This kind of outcome is exactly what we want to see for our loyal, hard working staff and the reason we support the CX Project. John Legg is a great example of someone who has found a new career after having good support."

Colin Smyth, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council's Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee said, "I admire John for having got stuck into retraining. It does show that the opportunities for a new start are out there and the CX Project and Business Gateway are good places to start looking for advice. Helping the local economy is a top priority for our Council which is why we are keen to support the CX Project's work."

UK statistics show that each year over 30,000 homes have chimney fires, but the majority could have been preventable. Most are due to not getting the chimney swept often enough and many insurance companies will no longer pay out on claims due to chimney fires unless the owner has used the services of a professional chimney sweep.