Former steelworker following in parents’ footsteps to open fish and chip shop

Former SSI worker Sean Bennett who has opened a traditional fish and chip shop in Elizabeth Way, Seaton Carew.'Photograph: Stuart Boulton
Former SSI worker Sean Bennett who has opened a traditional fish and chip shop in Elizabeth Way, Seaton Carew.'Photograph: Stuart Boulton

A former steelworker has followed in his parents’ footsteps by opening a fish and chip shop thanks to help from the SSI Task Force.

Sean Bennett had worked on the blast furnace at the Redcar steelworks for eight years when it closed its doors in September 2015 - but now he is running his own fish and chip shop in Seaton Carew.

Former SSI worker Sean Bennett who has opened a traditional fish and chip shop in Elizabeth Way, Seaton Carew.'Photograph: Stuart Boulton

Former SSI worker Sean Bennett who has opened a traditional fish and chip shop in Elizabeth Way, Seaton Carew.'Photograph: Stuart Boulton

He said: “When SSI first closed down, the Task Force helped us get onto courses; you name it, I applied for it. I just wanted to put myself in the best position to get a job.

“I was lucky enough to get a temporary job with Thirteen Group, and then my mam offered me an opportunity to work for her in one of her fish shops, which was really supportive of her. But I thought to myself, if I’m going to do this, I’m doing it for myself.”

Sean accessed the SSI Business Start Up Support and Grant scheme providing him with support to develop his own business plan, as well as funding to help him get started.

Sean, from Middlesbrough, said: “My wife Nikki helped me pull the business plan together, and my mam and dad are running three fish shops at the moment, so I had great support from them.”

Bennetts Traditional Fish and Chips, which is based in Elizabeth Way in Seaton Carew, opened its doors in July last year.

He added: “It was a learning experience, but the Task Force funding really helped us during the crucial early stages.

“Ultimately, I have my mam, dad and wife to thank; they’ve been my rocks and I couldn’t have done this without their help and support.”

Amanda Skelton, chair of the SSI Task Force, said: “I’m pleased the Task Force has been able to help Sean, and I’m sure his business will be a great success, especially with such a supportive family behind him.”