[A] council contract to remove unwanted furniture and household goods is to continue helping disabled and disadvantaged people.
South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has extended its bulky waste contract with Right2Work, a social enterprise which offers training, learning and work opportunities.
Last year Kendal-based Right2Work diverted more than 120 tonnes of waste away from landfill by recycling it and helping local people who are disabled or disadvantaged to embrace new skills and gain confidence.
SLDC’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Jonathan Brook, said: “It’s a success story which is a win, win, win for all involved.
“It’s a win for families who want to dispose of items which they no longer want, a win for those with learning difficulties who gain valuable work skills and a win by reducing the impact on the environment.
“The council is delighted to maintain its support for Right2Work, helping it to continue its excellent work collecting and recycling unwanted furniture and goods from across the district and transforming people’s lives.”
Households pay a collection fee of £30 to have up to three unwanted items collected. Two vans are used, six days a week, making up to 150 collections every month.
Items which appear to be worthless have real value once they are unloaded at The Furniture Warehouse on Kendal’s Mintsfeet Industrial Estate.
Peter Bradbury, Right2Work’s Regional Manager, said: “Meaningful learning no longer involves people with learning difficulties doing jigsaws and painting.
“The council’s bulky waste contract is a vehicle for us to offer training. Here they physically get involved in recycling around 70% of everything that is collected. They learn about delivery, collection and customer service skills and much more.
“It is all about offering meaningful activity, encouraging them to work together and boosting their confidence. For many of them the end goal is achieving sustainable employment.”
In 2017, Right2Work successfully helped 27 disabled or disadvantaged people into paid work.
Over the past 20 years the company, which is a subsidiary of the Kendal-based charity The Oaklea Trust, estimates it has supported more than 2,000 people to access training or work.
“We also teach life skills to people with a range of different needs. The fact that we have been re-awarded the council’s bulky waste contract for the next five years means we can carry on what we know works, something which has real value.
It’s like one big happy family here.” added Peter.
Residents wishing to make use of SLDC’s bulky waste collection service should telephone 01539 733333.
HOW JAMIE OVERCAME HIS FEARS
On his first day with Right2Work Jamie was reluctant to leave his parent’s car.
A high level of anxiety associated with his autism meant he was scared.
Week by week his confidence grew and today, almost a year on, he is a different young man.
Team manager, Chris Pantechis, said: “Although Jamie was incredibly nervous at first he was still keen to join us and develop his skills.
“Now he enjoys working in The Furniture Warehouse recycling items collected as part of SLDC’s bulky waste contract. He has picked up new skills, developed impressive social skills and made a number of new friendships.
“Jamie has overcome a lot, his family is very proud of him and we are too.”