THREE Lancashire voluntary groups have been made winners in the first ever Red Rose Recycling Awards.
The awards, organised by Lancashire Community Recycling Network and sponsored by Lancashire County Council and the recycling industry, are designed to recognise the social and environmental contribution made by voluntary groups to improving the county's quality of life.
Overall winner was Dolphinholme Village Hall with St Mark's Church Committee which also won the category "Best Community Recycling Project". The committee has raised more than £1,000 for work on the hall by recycling paper, cardboard, spectacles, batteries, aluminium foil, ink cartridges, mobile telephones, stamps and plastic bottles. Their £1,000 has now been swelled by a £500 prize, sponsored by Sita.
County Councillor Brian Johnson, Lancashire County Council Cabinet member for Urban and Rural Regeneration, said:
"Everyone thinks of the work done by district councils and the county council when it comes to recycling, but there is a tremendous amount of good work being done by volunteers at every level.
"They typically find a 'gap' in the recycling market - and set about filling it. The Dolphinholme volunteers, for example, are recycling items that are just not economic to do on a larger scale - and they make good money for the use of the wider community.
"Lancashire's official recycling levels are among the best in the country. This voluntary activity is hard to measure, but we know it makes Lancashire a greener place than officialdom has previously recognised."
The socially useful side of recycling was also recognised in the winners of the Best Community Re-use Project, sponsored by European Metals Recycling, and the winners of the Best Community Waste Minimisation Project, sponsored by Lancashire County Developments Ltd.
The Recycling Forum for Lancaster, Morecambe and Lune Valley was awarded £500 and a computer, sponsored by Preston Recycling, as Best Community Waste Minimisation Project. Its work involved production of a recycling directory to steer people in the direction of recycling facilities for lesser known items such as spectacles and batteries, as well as things such as paper.
Refurb, a social enterprise working in the Fylde and Wyre, won £500 for their work in collecting unwanted furniture, white goods, soft furnishings and paint and redistributing them to people in need.
Councillor Johnson added:
"Winning did not have to be rocket science. The Lancaster and Morecambe directory, called Not Just a Load of Old Rubbish, was just the simple idea of linking existing projects together to give people a steer in the right direction. Simple, but effective.
"The Refurb project was particularly impressive. Large quantities of perfectly good household goods are often thrown out across Lancashire. They are still perfectly useable - and through restoring and redistributing them Refurb provides valuable work experience, training and jobs for the long-term unemployed."
Notes for Editors
Picture: Members of the Lancaster, Morecambe and Lune Valley Recycling Forum on the riverside at Morecambe.
For further information please contact: Neil Graham on 01772 531095