Merseyside community groups come together to help reduce waste

Seventeen community groups, including three from Wirral, have met in Liverpool to come up with ideas to help the City Region reduce, re-use and recycle more.

The groups have all received funding from the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority (MRWA) and Veolia Community Fund 21/22, which has distributed £165,000 to help support local waste prevention, re-use and recycling initiatives.

Due to the Covid pandemic this is the first time that representatives from the organisations have been able to come together in person to discuss their plans to help cut household waste levels. The conference took place on Tuesday 14 September at No.1 Mann Island, the office of MRWA.

The organisations had to bid for the funding which will give them the financial resources to deliver waste-reducing behavioural change projects across the region. Programmes include cookery clubs to reduce food waste, community recycling hubs, sewing classes and craft clubs, upcycling and restoration of unwanted furniture, clothes recycling, and a cloth nappy lending library.

Chairperson of Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA), Councillor Tony Concepcion, said: “The event was a great opportunity to meet all our project partners. Year on year we’re seeing more success from our Community Fund programme and its influence on the whole region. This year there are a wide range of projects and a good mix of materials including food, furniture, plastics and textiles.

“The work of these groups is greatly appreciated, and we know the benefits go well beyond just managing waste. It’s been a tough 18 months for everybody, but hopefully the Community Fund can give local groups the opportunity to show that many of the things we put in the bin are actually valuable resources and not something which might be just thrown away.”

One of this year’s projects is being delivered by local charity Bridge2 whose remit is to welcome, serve, and assist asylum seekers, refugees, and local community throughout the central Liverpool area. Their ‘Reimgaine’ project will see textiles and furniture collected and donated to support vulnerable communities, furniture reuse courses and textile reuse workshops.

Lindsay Thomas, Community Arts Co-ordinator at Bridge 2, said: “It was wonderful to see all the community partners together in one place, as it gave us the chance to swap ideas and discuss how we can all work together to help local residents reduce waste and reuse what they can.”

The successful organisations have got until March 2022 to deliver their projects.

The Wirral groups involved are:

Make It Happen Birkenhead Ltd – Textiles as treasure: Make It Happen will employ a Textiles Champion to help establish a Community Shop, host 22 training sessions in sewing and crafts and sell the items in the shop.

Pioneer People Wirral – Street Ahead: this scheme will host a variety of neighbourhood exchange/garage sale events and 12 community centre events with donated items and upcycled items made by the Shed Heads project. Will also offer bikes refurbished at Liverpool Prison and send tools and clothes to Gambia to support local enterprise.

Wirral Change Ltd – Repaired Again: this project will work with ethnic communities to hold 20 food waste workshops, 20 textiles upcycling sewing classes and three community events.

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