A partnership between Warwickshire County Council and Age UK Warwickshire has celebrated a successful year together in which they have diverted some 700 tonnes of waste from going to landfill, saving the county council some £75,000 in landfill tax.
Age UK Warwickshire and Warwickshire County Council’s partnership has brought success and savings for local re-use shops and recycling centres across Warwickshire. The charity won the contract to run the 8 shops and 2 recycling centres over a year ago, on behalf of Warwickshire County Council.
Recycling and re-use shops have become the perfect partners over the last few years for charities and local councils. Realistic targets are set for local councils to reduce the amount of unnecessary waste sent to landfill and partnerships like these can and have worked successfully towards achieving those targets.
Age UK Warwickshire and Warwickshire County Council have formed a very successful partnership over the last year, where it has enabled a staggering 700 tonnes of items to be resold to the local community and in so diverted it from landfill. This has created a huge saving of £75,000 in disposal costs, allowing those funds to be used elsewhere.
Over 25 full time staff are employed across these locations along with 49 volunteers, who all get a great sense of satisfaction from diverting these items from landfill. The volunteers are from a range of backgrounds including a small proportion of young work experience volunteers, who gain business and customer service experience.
Elizabeth Phillips, Chief Executive Age UK Warwickshire said “This is a highly successful partnership, with positives on all sides. Older people in Warwickshire have vital services maintained through funds, while we are all contributing to the wider environment by recycling. Keep your donations coming”.
The funds raised from the shops stays in Warwickshire to help fund services like Befriending and Information and Advice. These services specialise in helping older people who may be isolated in the community to continue living in their homes securely and safely.
From November 2014 to October 2015, the two organisations have been turning heads in the field of recycling and re-use, by winning the following awards:
- Efficiency Initiative of the Year title at the National Recycling Awards 2015
- Local Authority Gold at the International Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Excellence Awards 2015
- This initiative won Silver and Bronze at the Improvement and Efficiency Awards 2015 in the categories Transformation in Waste & Environment and Delivering through Efficiency.
- The same project took the Best Entrepreneurship, Income Generation or Commercialisation Initiative title at the APSE Service Awards 2015
- Best New Idea at the LARAC Celebration Awards 2015.
Cllr Jeff Clarke, Warwickshire Country Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said: “The partnership has achieved so much and we are delighted with how successful it has been in such a short space of time. From the county council’s perspective, the savings we achieve through diverting waste from going to landfill are very significant and enables the council to maintain another service.”
Cllr Philip Johnson, Chair of the council’s Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, highlighted another benefit of the re-use partnership. He said: “The partnership has created over 25 jobs and about twice as many work experience opportunities, some of which have given some vulnerable young people the opportunity to get some work skills. The council looks for partnerships to provide social value wherever possible and this is an excellent example of that.”
Ensuring the continued success of this partnership for the county, is heavily reliant on a constant stream of good quality donations from the public. These donations, once re-sold will provide support and services to older people in the community who really need it.
For more information on what to donate or where there is a local re-use shop or recycling centre in your area, please visit http://www.ageuk.org.uk/warwickshire/our-shops1/our-re-use-shops/ Alternatively, please call Age UK Warwickshire Head office on 01926 458 100.