Repair, Re-use and Recycle Scheme Boosts Community

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By Carys | Thursday, January 17, 2013, 14:55

Islington residents are

reaping the rewards of a new scheme which recycles and refurbishes unwanted

household items while also providing training opportunities for the local

community.

Repairs and maintenance

provider, Kier, in partnership with Islington Council and social enterprise,

Bright Sparks, launched the Ray Walk Recycling Centre project in May last year

after converting 40 disused garages into a workshop, office and recycling

storage units.  Not only does the scheme

reduce waste from void clearances going to landfill, it also provides

affordable furniture and electrical items to local people, as well as offering

invaluable training and volunteering opportunities.

The project has already

seen five volunteers go on to paid employment after gaining NVQ qualifications

as well as enabling Bright Sparks to open an additional furniture shop, where

the refurbished items are sold to provide funding for both training and a

salaried shop manager. In the last four months alone, 14.5 tonnes of furniture

have been diverted from landfill, a figure estimated to reach 60 tonnes by May

2013, with fly-tipping on the Andover estate significantly reduced. At least ten

new training posts will also be set up this year in retail, driving and

electrical, with expansion into repairs for gas ovens supported by Kier's gas

training expertise.

Kier voids manager, Steve

Matthews, said: "The new recycling centre is a great resource for local

businesses as it provides a convenient and cost effective way to clear unwanted

waste. Recycling charities are often limited by the items they are able to

collect and are also not always able to adhere to the strict timelines for void

clearance. Our partnership with Bright Sparks means we're able to take all

items to the workshop where at least 70% of them can be recycled. As well as

the environmental benefits of not sending waste to landfill, we also predict the

new scheme will save more than £100,000 a year in waste disposal charges, a

saving which will go back to the Council."

Islington Council executive member for

tenants, residents and communities, Cllr Barbara Sidnell, said: "We are on the

side of Islington's communities and committed to improving life on estates for

Islington families – so we are 100% behind the Ray Walk Recycling Centre. This

simple but effective scheme is giving the estate a real boost, reducing

fly-tipping, re-using household items and providing training and jobs."

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