Recycling centres to generate cash for communities

Two of Warwickshire County Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres are the first sites in Britain to be taken over by the voluntary sector.

Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action (CAVA) and the Heart of England Community Foundation have created ‘Warwickshire Community Recycling’ as a joint charitable enterprise which took over the management of Stockton and Wellesbourne recycling centres from the county council on April 1.

The transfer of the sites to the voluntary sector means that the community will help run them and enable seven day opening to continue at the county’s eight busiest centres.

Stockton, near Southam, is a part-time site and will remain open on weekends while Wellesbourne will remain open every day. Warwickshire Community Recycling will also run re-use shops at three other sites – Shipston, Lower House Farm – the North Warwickshire replacement for Grendon due to open in early 2013 – and Cherry Orchard in Kenilworth.

The voluntary sector will provide the staff to operate the on-site shops, assist members of the public and ensure recycling is sorted. Warwickshire Community Recycling will receive the recycling income to cover the costs of operating the sites with surpluses being donated to local charities through the Heart of England Community Foundation.

Cllr Alan Cockburn, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Communities and Chair of the Warwickshire Waste Partnership, said: “We are proud to announce a landmark partnership with CAVA and look forward to working with the voluntary sector to deliver this service.

“This is the first scheme of its kind in the country and it means that we can make financial savings but keep open all our existing recycling centres and maintain a seven-day a week service at the eight busiest sites.

“Warwickshire’s household waste recycling centres continue to divert vast amounts of waste from landfill and we are very excited about working with the third sector to continue to deliver such a valuable service to our residents.”

More than 1.5 million visitors brought over 62,500 tonnes of waste to Warwickshire’s household waste recycling centres last year. Wellesbourne received 47,000 visitors last year and Stockton 25,000.

Paul Tolley, Chief Executive of Warwickshire Community And Voluntary Action, said: “What is so exciting about this new model of working is that it will not only save money for the taxpayer and increase recycling rates but also create funds for voluntary and community groups at a time when funding is so sparse.”

Kate Mulkern from the Heart of England Community Foundation added: “This project will ultimately generate thousands of pounds which we will distribute to grassroots Warwickshire community groups. It’s a perfect example of local charities working together for the benefit of all.”

The review of Household Waste Recycling Centres was initiated after budget reductions required an £800,000 saving in the next financial year to cover all nine sites and the disposal of green waste and recycling that comes from them.

Under the new arrangements, the county council maintains overall control of all the sites, including provision of technical and management support. The sites at Grendon in North Warwickshire, Hunters Lane in Rugby, Cherry Orchard, Princes Drive in Leamington, Burton Farm in Stratford and Shipston are all operated directly by Warwickshire County Council with weekday opening reduced to six hours a day. Nuneaton will have a new facility, due to open in 2015, which will be operated by the private sector.