BRIGHTON RECYCLING PROJECT IN PERIL – LAUNCHES “SAVE THE WOOD STORE” CAMPAIGN
Brighton & Hove Wood Recycling Project has been operating for 21 years, is a not-for-profit social enterprise and is part of the national Community Wood Recycling Network. It is a pinnacle of the circular economy, locally and beyond. It has recently been given until March 31st to leave its main premises at The Wood Store in Elder Place which potentially places the future of the organisation in peril unless new space is found.
There is in interim plan for relocation to a bolthole in Ringmer which will be put in place if nowhere is found quickly. This is far from ideal, restricts retail potential and access, and involves making some unwanted redundancies.
The organisation collects, reuses and recycles waste wood items and timber which would otherwise go into landfill. In doing so the organisation provides volunteering opportunities, training placements and employment for people experiencing unemployment and social exclusion, including those with a disability or managing ongoing mental health problems.
It currently operates a shop where reclaimed wood and products manufactured from reclaimed wood by volunteers and employees in the workshop can be bought by the public at low cost compared with buying the equivalent items new. The organisation also offers woodwork training sessions to the public in the workshop.
The project also regularly sells furniture it makes on the premises to the corporate sector and hospitality trade for offices, hotels, bars and cafes.
Those who are taken on by the organisation learn new skills, improve their self-esteem and confidence, and aid their recovery from mental and physical illness through volunteering and employment.
The natural environment benefits from protection and preservation through significant amounts of waste wood products and timber being diverted from landfill and made available for reuse or upcycled into new products. Consumer demand for new timber, which is mainly imported, and may not derive from sustainably managed forestry is consequently reduced.
Through its Brighton Wood Store premises and social media platforms, the organisation promotes the use of sustainably produced timber and make these sustainable resources affordable and accessible to the public. Over 300 tonnes of wood each year* is diverted through the Wood Store’s efforts.
It is hoped that redundancies will be kept to an absolute minimum and that anyone who is made redundant will return to work at the organisation once it is back up and running in a suitable new home.
To this end, Brighton & Hove Recycled Wood Project is launching a campaign called “Save the Wood Store” to ask for help and support to find a new home. It is looking for light industrial premises suitable for a small retail outlet and some office space, in or around Brighton and Hove, ideally:
Workshop / Office: 200m²with van loading
Wood Store: 300m²preferably with customer parking
Shared space and/or collaborations with other companies or not-for-profits will be happily considered.
In its current operating format, the Wood Store brings in a variety of regular customers so not only would it be a partner or tenant doing social good, but it would bring in extra footfall to an existing retail or community venue.
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, says:“Brighton & Hove Wood Recycling Project is a fantastic example of a social enterprise really making a difference in our city. This not-for-profit aims to protect our environment by saving and reusing resources while helping to change lives by providing jobs, training and volunteering opportunities for local people. The project has rightly been recognised for its innovative business approach and for helping vulnerable people into work.
On previous visits to the Wood Store, I’ve seen first-hand the contribution they make to waste reduction through turning old off-cuts of wood into beautiful furniture, all made from recycled materials. I hope everyone can get behind their campaign to find a new home!”
If you are interested in becoming a Wood Store ambassador, landlord, supporter or know someone who would, please contact Jill Woolf at Chimera Communications firstname.lastname@example.org
You can see more on the organisation on www.woodrecycling.org.uk