Reuse Organisation of the Year – have your say!

Posted on the 25th August 2022

The prestigious Reuse Network Awards have returned for 2022 and we are excited to celebrate the many achievements of our sector with a fantastic Awards Ceremony.

Thank you to eBay for sponsoring these awards and giving each of the shortlisted volunteers the opportunity to attend the full conference, Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony. 

Vote for your Reuse Organisation of the Year

The Reuse Organisation of the Year award is voted on by the public and will go to a reuse charity/social enterprise who has made a great achievement in the past year.

Please take some time to read about the brilliant nominees below and decide who you think should take home the award. You can cast your vote using our form below.

Voting will close on Thursday 15 September and there is only one vote allowed per person.

The winner will be announced at the Awards Ceremony during the Gala Dinner after the conference on Tuesday 11 October.

*Voting for Reuse Organisation of the Year 2022 is now closed*

Antur Waunfawr

 

Established in 1984, Antur Waunfawr is a Social Enterprise that provides health and wellbeing, work, and training opportunities for individuals with learning disabilities within Caernarfon and Waunfawr, Gwynedd, North Wales. The charity currently support 70 individuals and 100 staff members. 

Antur’s main objectives are: to protect its local economy, environment, culture and language, be a sustainable employer, and promote health and wellbeing. 

The organisation has developed over the last 35 years and now has a variety of prosperous sustainable businesses, and all profits are reinvested in the service and in the community. 

Amongst the projects are the 3 Green Businesses; 

Warws Werdd-A retail outlet established in 2004 which collects furniture and clothes from the community and from the Council’s sites to upcycle, reuse, or prepare them for recycling. Antur Waunfawr developed a partnership with clothing traders – Roberts Recycling Ltd and now in addition to its own collection service, it also collects from other locations. This is approximately a 400% increase in the tonnage it processes, from 2 to 10 tonnes per week. 

Caergylchu-A recycling centre in partnership with Gwynedd Council, where our Antur Shredding business is located, collecting confidential paper waste from businesses across north Wales before wrapping it ready to be turned into tissue paper, and a plastics line where the county’s plastics are sorted ready for recycling. 

Beics Antur-A business which hires, sells and services bikes, including an adaptive fleet (side-by-sides) for individuals with a wide range of disabilities and the elderly. The project has helped to maximise the choices of activities to improve the wellbeing of individuals with learning disabilities and other disadvantaged within the Caernarfon area and reduce the inequality gap for people with learning disabilities to access these activities. 

The Benjamin Foundation

The Benjamin Foundation is a charity working in Norfolk and Suffolk to prevent youth homelessness, provide youth services and emotional wellbeing support to children and young people who are experiencing challenging in their lives.  

Through its network of second-hand furniture and household stores in Norfolk and reuse shops in Suffolk (in partnership with Suffolk County Council and FCC Environment), Benjamin Foundation are champions of reuse while raising vital funds to support its charity’s work. The stores, and its own Reuse Drop Off Centre in Norwich, offer convenient ways for local people to donate pre-loved items, and are valuable resources for customers purchasing second hand furniture and household items.  

The charity also plays an important role in its communities by championing and promoting reuse and breaking down barriers about second hand items. The promotion and education is important and as it currently works with 14 recycling sites in Norfolk and Suffolk, it is committed to delivering this message as it continues to seek opportunities to expand and grow.

The Furniture Revival

The Furniture Revival is an established skills and experience based organisation, diverting waste from landfill to repurpose for families in need. Based in Rhymney, one of the most economically and health deprived areas of the UK, the charity serves communities in South Wales, providing accessible, affordable furniture to households across the region. The organisation provides a service to collect, clean, repurpose and reuse furniture, electrical and other household items which are made fit for purpose for resale at a low cost.

The Furniture Revival have helped families with nothing, turn houses into homes, whilst fulfilling environmental aspirations also. The social enterprise is a vital hub to its community, providing significant hope, in seriously difficult times.

The organisation currently has 21 volunteers, volunteering a total average of 922 hours per month. In the past year, they have seen 8 volunteers progress into employment opportunities in an area severely lacking employment opportunity. On 71 occasions they provided furniture within 24 hours to emergency response situations of families rehomed after being involved in domestic abuse situations.

Between April 2021 and March 2022, the organisation collected 5,382 items from 1,805 households. In this same time period 2,694 members of the public purchased 84,768.3kgs of electrical items and 101,644.7kgs of furniture items from the organisation. A total of 186,413kgs was diverted from landfill with the majority of those items being redistributed to those in need. 

Jersey Employment Trust

Acorn Reuse is part of a social enterprise in Jersey that offers work and training opportunities for people who have a disability or long-term health condition.  

Acorn Enterprises forms part of the Jersey Employment Trust, a registered charity that helps people with a disability or long-term health condition secure and sustain employment. Acorn Enterprises employs 52 people, 75% of whom have disability or long-term health condition. 

In April 2022 the organisation opened a new purpose-built donations centre. When the organisation reopened after lockdown, albeit with restrictions, Acorn Enterprises adapted its working practices, which unexpectedly resulted in a more efficient way of working. The organisation recognised early on that there was potential to make the temporary storage tents into a permanent depot and it took a calculated risk to invest in architectural plans, trusting that it would secure funding later on. 

The primary reason for the centre was to create 10 new jobs and up to 60 training opportunities for people with a disability.  With sorting and storage moving there, Acorn Enterprises freed up 25% more shopfloor space. It increased its capacity to receive and process goods by over 30% and it expects to remove an additional 730 tonnes from the waste stream each year. 

The centre has given space to offer new projects. A particular success has been the recycling of scrap metal, cables and circuit boards. Not only does this provide training, but it also generates a further income.

Newbury Community Resource Centre

The Newbury Community Resource Centre was established as a charity in 2000. It has grown from small beginnings, operating one furniture re-use project from a garage in Newbury, to expanding across West Berkshire and into North Hampshire. 

Since August 2021 the charity has dealt with the local impact of a number of international crises. 

With the evacuation of Afghan nationals last year, the charity received a late-night request to support 300 evacuees the next morning. Support delivered immediately included clothing, laptops, sports equipment, bicycles as well as furniture and household goods for families settling locally. 

In October of 2021 180 Asylum Seekers were also accommodated in local hotels. The charity also supported them with bicycles, laptops and sports equipment. 

During the period since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 the charity has supported 370 people and their local hosts through the provision of furniture, white goods, bicycles, laptops and SIM cards. 

The support to the above groups has continued alongside the wide range of existing services provided to the local community. 

At the heart of delivering services to the new arrivals in the District has been a determination to ensure that in all ways possible they are made to feel welcome and part of the community. A number of refugees now regularly participate in volunteering and sporting events arranged by the charity. The support will be on-going. 

The role of the charity as a local hub of long standing for those in need enabled it to quickly facilitate local peoples wish to support those in need by receiving, checking, repairing and distributing a wide range of reusable items. 

Refurbs Flintshire

Refurbs Flintshire aims are to provide affordable furniture, to provide work placement, training and volunteering opportunities, to make people aware of the benefits of reusing and recycling, to reduce pollution and protect the environment, and to promote sustainable waste management practice. 

Over the past year it has significantly grown its benefits for both the community and waste reduction through new initiatives.  

In early 2021 Refurbs secured funding to transform a vacant former bank into a repair and re-use centre with café in Buckley town centre, achieving the complete renovation within three months. Since the beginning of 2022 it has achieved its ambition of becoming a re-use hub for the local community – it has now established a regular weekend repair session with a growing team of repair volunteers. Refurbs have established regular reuse-themed sessions including recycled bike sales, digital skills sessions and upcycling workshops.  

The organisation has also secured additional funding to develop a community garden attached to the centre, which was completed in 2022. This is fully accessible and offers potential for outdoor events such as bike repair, upcycling crafts and food growing workshops.  

Other ventures achieved in 2021/22 include establishing a new community fridge at our Flint base, and running upcycling workshops for housing association tenants to achieve community benefits. These new ventures have enabled Refurbs to reach additional community members, further reduce waste, and increase skills and awareness of reuse more widely. 

South Leeds Alternative Trading Enterprise

South Leeds Alternative Trading Enterprise (SLATE) was set up to offer work opportunities to adults with learning disabilities. Also, to reduce the amount of unwanted items going to landfill, through the creation of the Feel Good Furniture Shop.  

SLATE started it’s Feel Good Furniture operation in 2004 by its patron Frances Jones. Supported by a group of people with learning disabilities, she saw three opportunities. Firstly, to offer work opportunities for adults with learning disabilities. Social isolation was something that Frances wanted to tackle and the Feel Good Furniture Shop would offer a safe place for people to meet, build friendships and gain skills. Secondly, to address a real concern at the amount of unwanted furniture and electricals going to landfill. And thirdly to help alleviate poverty in the local community. Frances believed that everyone should have the opportunity to own a bed, sofa, dining table and cooker. 18 years on, these foundations are still prevalent in everything the charity do. 

Due to careful planning and budgeting SLATE was lucky enough to come out of the pandemic in a strong position. All the team received 100% pay for those challenging months as it acknowledged that their outgoings would be the same or even higher. The organisation now face another challenging time with the cost-of-living rise. In response, SLATE decided that it would become a living wage employer and that each team member would receive a salary growth to accommodate inflation. SLATE increased wages on average by 9.8%, meaning that entry level positions raised by £120 per month take home FTE.  

Dave Firth from SLATE says: “We don’t really see this as an achievement. We talk a lot about how we serve the community but sometimes that help needs to be directed closer to home. The SLATE team has worked tirelessly over the past 2 years and are very concerned about what the next year will look like. SLATE thinks like a family and put a plan in place that could maybe settle some of those worries. This may mean cutting back on future plans or activities but our people are our foundation. We would not expect any of the team to work less harder or give less time to our volunteers, so to reduce their challenges at home is something that we want to give back while we can.  I am writing this nomination for all the team really as a thankyou to their dedication and love of SLATE.”

The Furniture Project Nottinghamshire

From humble beginnings the Furniture Project Nottinghamshire has grown to be the largest furniture reuse project in Nottinghamshire, operating five vans 6 days a week collecting donated furniture and delivering subsidised referrals of furniture and household items to people in need.   

The Furniture Project Nottinghamshire is extremely proud to be celebrating 30 years as a reuse charity serving its local and wider community in Nottinghamshire.  It has been challenging at times but with a dedicated workforce and management team we have been able to diversify and grow the Project to what it is today. 

Last year (1st April 2021 -31st March 2022) the Project collected 17,478 items with a combined weight of approximately 441 tonnes which was diverted from landfill and either reused or recycled, as well as this, the charity were able to deliver furniture and household items to 884 families who were struggling to make ‘a house a home’, thus helping 1865 individuals in need with the basics such as a sofa, a bed, a table, chairs and electrical items. 

It also started to upcycle furniture just as the pandemic hit and since then, their upcycled items have really taken off. They are now able to repair and upcycle tired, old pieces of furniture that were destined for the tip and employ a full time ‘upcycler’ and have 3 volunteers that work alongside him bringing new life to old furniture and in turn reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill.

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