We started out the Recycling the site at Poland Street as a pilot project for the 3R’s Recycling, Re-use, and Reduce. In this we had an enormous level of support from a number of organisations, most notably from the FRN who really helped us with the funding and management of the scheme at the outset.
We have also received tremendous financial support from the Big Lottery that enabled us to start a Furniture Restoration training course. We developed this Training capability further thanks to funding from the WEA that led us to run a DIY Skills course over 9 months.
The project was to support the development of a 3-R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Deconstruction project which would initially complement our Recycling Centre at Poland Street, Manchester, and provide a valuable resource to the Community as well as an opportunity for the long-term unemployed and for those in need to gain work experiences and the possibility of future job.
We currently have a Bulk Waste contract with a large social housing provider and, as such, are able to obtain a host of household items that we collect deemed as being too good to go into landfill; these are recycled and either sold locally at value for money prices or gifted to those in great need.
The Lottery funding helped to introduce the Deconstruction process into our Recycling centre creating a new service to our community which will both save resources and be an enormous benefit to local people in helping to stop fly-tipping, and keeping their environment tidy.
We have purchased a Baling machine and associated work tables to enable us to deconstruct and reduce furniture/mattresses as needed, and to facilitate a programme of skills and expertise to operate the project.
A key aim of Stand Firm is to utilise, recycle or upcycle any furniture, metal, white goods and other electrical equipment which it clears from voids (from our bulk waste contract) with the added aim of being able to offer such items back into the same communities through Mustard Tree furniture retail outlets at very affordable prices or gifted to those in most need.
The deconstruction element is an important part of the new facility in both terms of environmental and economic benefit and the opportunity for training and work for local people in need.
Each month we provide Mustard Tree with household items worth in excess of £1,000, which is a great resource for an area of a high proportion of very deprived families. This service directly benefits those in most need and helps them avoid the trap of taking loans at exorbitant rates that further exacerbates their financial situation.
The Deconstruction project within StandFirm’s 3 R centre will be an opportunity to develop life and social skills. The job experiences and the regime of the work itself we hope will lead to further opportunities for long-term work, and help in the process to increased personal confidence and value to their lives.
At StandFirm we rely hugely on the contribution volunteers make to the Recycling project. Everyone is treated as a valuable member of staff and we are committed to helping them with the maximum support that we can give. We look to receive volunteers from stakeholder partners such as : Learn Direct; Social Services; Mental Health Teams; The Booth Centre; Mustard Tree’s own Freedom Project: Local Housing Associations and self-referral.
We are open to all and fundamentally believe that everyone has something to offer, regardless of their background. We welcome people from all age groups, and all nationalities and believe that by allowing people to work together we improve society.
Young volunteers can learn new skills, including work-related training, thereby assisting their progression into employment.
We support flexible working. A number of the volunteers have had a long history of unemployment and many have additional social or educational needs. Most are socially marginalised and living within the deprived districts of Manchester and maybe recovering from depression, drug and/or alcohol misuse etc.
We are seeking to become a valuable part of the local society and want to be a magnet for people in need, and as a place where they get help.
A truly amazing opportunity has become a reality with the move to the EMR facility at Salford. This will be a wonderful chance to develop our Recycling business and will provide us with the possibilities of taking on additional paid staff as well as increasing the volunteer contribution. Watch this space for news as we make progress....