Lancashire’s Champions in our War on Waste

With the scale of avoidable waste increasingly in the public consciousness a furniture reuse organisation, a food bank partnership and bicycle refurbishment group have each been championed for making an impact in communities across Lancashire.

Through their activities, each organisation stops surplus furniture, food and bicycles respectively being wasted when they are no longer needed, and makes sure they are passed on to local disadvantaged people instead. As members of the Lancashire Community Recycling Network, these organisations and over 40 others like them embody a community response to tackling poverty across our region by redirecting items that would otherwise be thrown away.

At Lancashire CRN’s eighth annual awards ceremony, the Red Rose Resource Awards, the three Network members that are making the biggest impacts in Lancashire over the past year were recognized and rewarded with private sector cash investment.

The Red Rose Resource Awards 2015 event was opened by Lancashire County Council’s Lead Member for Waste Management, County Councillor Clare Pritchard. Cllr Pritchard praised Lancashire CRN’s member organisations for their innovation, longevity and the enduring social, economic and environmental impacts of their work: “We're very fortunate to have so many excellent groups dedicated to repurposing items that would otherwise become waste to help others in our communities.

"Many of them are now long-established, which is testament to their original thinking and determination in overcoming the obstacles that confront any organisation during its early development, and growing their capacity over the years to make a bigger and bigger impact.

"They make a huge contribution, not just in the field of waste and recycling, but in helping vulnerable people and supporting our economy, whether through their daily work in repairing and reselling items or by creating opportunities for disadvantaged people."

Lancashire CRN’s Coordinator Dawn Welham said “The three awards were won by very diverse organisations based in Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen respectively. This shows how diverse the community waste management sector in our region is, and it’s something we are very proud of as a Network.”

“On behalf of the Network I want to thank our three; representatives of the waste and recycling industry for their commitment to the work of our members. It’s great to have the private sector recognizing the impact that the community sector is having across Lancashire, making sure anything from furniture to food to bicycles is made available to people on low incomes instead of being disposed of”.

Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council provide ongoing support of the Lancashire Community Recycling Network as part of the Lancashire Waste Strategy.

 

 

Best New Project

The Best New Project Award is designed to recognize projects running for less than 18 months; and it was won by Blackburn-based Cycle Roots which opened to the public in just February this year.

With an emphasis on using bicycle repair and cycling to engage youth offenders, young people with mental health problems and other disengaged local youngsters, they are increasing repair and maintenance skills and helping to promote healthier lifestyles. They refurbish donated bicycles, provide cycle refurbishment training and provide affordable access to cycling; so far, 372 bikes have been collected that would otherwise have been scrapped.

Emma McNally spoke on behalf of the Cycle Roots team, saying “We are absolutely made up with the award, this is great for Cycle Roots and everyone involved. There were cheers of happiness from everyone the morning when the trophy arrived at the workshop!” Cycle Roots provide free drop-in sessions at community centres, where safety checks, advice and repairs are carried out free of charge.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Viridor for funding and awarding us best new project, we will be investing some to of the funds to provide free bike repairs in disadvantaged Community Centre’s in Blackburn with Darwen, and the rest will contribute to the development of the organization”.

Warren Harwood, Waste Services Coordinator at Blackburn Council said “By preventing bicycles being scrapped unnecessarily, Cycle Roots are also contributing to our Health and Wellbeing Strategy – it’s a fantastic all-round service provided entirely by volunteers.

“Everyone here at the Council is delighted to hear of Cycle Roots’ award success – and consequently we’ve had pledges of bikes and support from across the Authority. We’re all looking forward to seeing the group develop after what they’ve already achieved in such a short space of time.”

Chris Hanson-Jones presented their award and £1000 on behalf of Viridor. As a keen cyclist there was a lot of common ground between sponsor and winner. “Viridor are delighted to continue to sponsor these awards and support in the wonderful people who give of their time and skills to help those less fortunate than many of us.  It truly was humbling to be among so many inspiring people.”

Viridor are Lancashire’s contracted waste haulier, providing the transport for all household waste streams from across the county.

Join Cycle Roots on Facebook for more information on how to donate or access their support.

Best Partnership

If you have been watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s new BBC One series ‘Hugh’s War on Waste’ you will have seen some of the staggering scale of waste in the UK.  At the same time as 13 million people in this country are struggling to afford to eat, one third of food in the UK is unnecessarily wasted.

However; the Blackpool Food Partnership is leading a localised fight against food waste, making sure surplus edible food from a number of local sources is provided to disadvantaged people across the Authority; and they has now been recognised with the Best Partnership award and a cash investment of £500 at the Lancashire Community Recycling Network’s annual awards event.

Blackpool Food Partnership is a group of 38 organisations that have been working together since October 2013 with the aim of relieving poverty and hardship in Blackpool, aiming to ensure that no individual or family goes without food. The partnership has gone from strength to strength, and during 2014 they scaled up from distributing £5,000 worth of food to £54,670.

Food banks are a service of last resort for people living in poverty. UK food prices have increased by 43.5 per cent in the eight years to July 2013 and food expenditure as a proportion of total household expenditure has continued to rise.

In response, the partnership has an increasing emphasis on providing additional support to help people in crisis escape a cycle of deprivation. In partnership with Blackpool’s Discretionary Support Team, the Blackpool Food Partnership have supported over 4000 people to address underlying issues behind their current crisis, by providing advice and referrals to appropriate services, such as welfare, benefit and debt advice, or accessing support through job clubs or training opportunities.

Coordinator Nikki Hart said “By coordinating the access, storage, processing and distribution, we have circulated surplus food valued at almost £55,000 to people in need rather than it being wasted. We are absolutely delighted to have won the Best Partnership award – and our cash prize will help us purchase freezers to help us manage fresh food. Our partners could be batch cooking and serving up soup over the winter with perfect vegetables otherwise destined for the bin!”

“We would like to thank our sponsors for their kind support and all of our partners  who have worked so hard to help Blackpool’s most disadvantaged residents.”

Jon Russell from category sponsor Recresco said “The passion and the dedication of all of the partners represented is wonderful. We are proud to support the Blackpool Food Partnership’s work, firstly by helping people out in hard times with food that would be unnecessarily thrown away, and secondly for playing a role in helping people to regain independence”.

‘Recresco: Extreme Recycling’ is a materials recycling company are the reprocessor for all glass bottles sorted and recovered through Lancashire’s two waste recovery facilities.

Best Community Enterprise

Furniture reuse and training charity Open Door took the top prize, the Best Community Enterprise award, home to Burnley, along with £1000 from sponsor Saica Natur. Open Door have been operating for 16 years, collecting, checking, storing and redistributing donated furniture, appliances and household goods in Burnley and Pendle. In doing so, they help over 1,500 households per year, many of whom are referred through local agencies for support.

Since the millennium, Open Door have collected over 89,000 items of furniture and electrical items from members of the public and supported nearly 20,000 disadvantaged households with over 2,000 tonnes of household bulky waste and electrical items that they have collected and passed on.

That is a huge environmental impact – and Open Door make a huge impact socially too; they have given genuine work experience placements with training to nearly 600 unemployed people and provided nearly 300 volunteers with training, mentoring, confidence building and help with social and life skills. The charity is proud to have actively participated in over 120 people finding secure employment as a direct result of their placements.

Saica Natur are a recycling and waste management company based in Manchester that processes all paper and card recovered from Lancashire’s waste recovery facilities and network of transfer stations across the County.

Andrew Williams presented the award and £1000 on behalf of category sponsor Saica Natur and said “Open Door are delivering real change and we are delighted to invest in their work. They have provided their local community with a consistent source of practical support, with affordable household goods and effective vocational training”.

 

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