Community recycling fund hailed a success

A flagship fund set up to encourage Merseyside community and voluntary groups to spearhead a revolution in the region’s recycling habits diverted more than a thousand tonnes of ‘waste’ from landfill, slashed carbon emissions by a similar amount and helped create or secure almost 100 local jobs, a report reveals.

The first major report into Merseyside Waste and Recycling Authority’s £236,000 investment in local community and voluntary groups has hailed the scheme a success.

Under the Authority’s Community Fund scheme, community and voluntary groups across Merseyside and Halton were invited to submit funding applications showing how they would reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and deliver a host of other benefits.

The report into the scheme, which funded total of 16 submitted project proposals during 2013/14, shows how, in barely a year, successful groups:
•         Diverted 1,194 tonnes from landfill (saving tax payers £95,000 in landfill tax)
•         Cut the region’s carbon emissions by 1,152 tonnes
•         Created or secured a total of 98 full time jobs

It reveals how the 2013/14 fund delivered dozens of other benefits too, with 24,255 individuals, 100 schools and all three Liverpool universities directly engaged in projects run by the funded groups; more than 4,000 families shown how to reduce kitchen waste and, through one particular project, 435 vulnerable families supported with emergency furniture packs created from recycled items.

Another project funded by the Community Fund went on to open a shop in Bromborough selling pre-loved goods so volunteers could raise money to re-launch a local meals on wheels service. The fund also supported an ‘eco garden’ in St Helens, a range of awareness raising initiatives, a school uniform re-use scheme helping lower income families and a scheme training young unemployed people in furniture restoration skills. Under the Wirral scheme, 80% of volunteers taking part subsequently found employment and over 100 items of furniture were donated to local residents in need.

MRWA chairperson Councillor Graham Morgan said: “Investing so much money in community groups was a big step for a public authority at a time like this but it has paid off.

“The environmental benefits in terms of direct cuts in landfill costs and changes in recycling habits  are huge but the human benefits are just as big. Above all, the scheme has proved that the imagination, focus and hard work of community groups can play a leading role in transforming our recycling habits.”

Pictured is a worrkshop and free for all day at Bulky Bobs.

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