BAN Waste Select Committee evidence

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Phase 1 Day 3 2001-10-04 Garry King (Renew North East Ltd, Felling)

written evidence submitted in advance

Renew North East Limited

What is Renew? Renew is an exciting, new and sustainable enterprise in the social economy. It brings together the social virtues of genuine paid training opportunities for disadvantaged people with the environmental benefits of refurbishing discarded electrical equipment that still has years of useful life left in it. In addition, the scheme addresses the pressing need for tested, safe, warranted low-cost white goods.

Following an extensive feasibility study the first Renew (Renew NE) was established in Gateshead in May 2000. In the year since it began operating the workshop has demonstrated that the concept does work and can achieve all its social and environmental aims whilst operating on sound commercial principles.

Training: Renew provides real, paid work for people who have very limited previous work experience. Its commercially organised workshop provides a secure training and work environment that enables the trainees to build their self-confidence and gather genuine skills. The opportunity to work on every day household items that their peers regard as complex and expensive necessities makes this scheme significantly more exciting and relevant to many unemployed people than many other job training programmes. The relevance of the work is reinforced daily by the regular visits to the workshop by people ready to purchase the products of their labours.

By offering safe, clean and guaranteed low-priced white goods Renew achieves two additional social benefits. Low-income households are able to buy the products and thereby avoid purchasing potentially unsafe products from less scrupulous dealers. Social Services and housing charities can save money on new products while still providing their clients with quality machines.

In the short time Renew NE has been operational it has achieved the following:

Environment: Renew aims to meet the highest standards of respect for the environment, and manages the entire production process with this in mind. As many machines as possible are refurbished for sale. Parts are cannibalised from other machines that are not viable to repair. The non-viable machines are dismantled into components to maximise recycling and develop the trainee's awareness of the product. We even collect the concrete ballast blocks from washing machines for use in aggregate. In the laundry section the washing machines are tested with recirculated water. All the defective fridges are securely degassed and the CFCs sent away for reprocessing.

The future: Renew wants to take this concept of a sustainable social business across the country. It is strongly supported by Comet plc, the leading electrical retailer, who will underwrite the crucial supply of quality second user white goods. Renew Trust is already developing strong links with Remploy, whose values and ambitions coincide with Renew's, for the development of at least 6 workshops across the country.

Renew Funding Bodies

East Gateshead Partnership: The Renew project is one of the first recycling schemes of its kind in the country and provides an intermediate labour market where local unemployed people can gain high quality training and work experience.

This proposal meets many of the main objectives of the Single Regeneration Budget and the East Gateshead Partnership is pleased to be involved in such an innovative project to bring many opportunities to a wide number of local residents.

Northumbrian Water Environmental Trust (NWET): For NWET, this project serves three important functions in one. It helps the environment by recycling white goods, it creates jobs and training in an area of high unemployment, and it provides valuable service for the local community. That is why NWET has put �50,000 into this venture, and we consider it money well spent.

European Community: The North East of England has been designated an Objective 2 area, therefore qualifying for European Structural Fund support to address problems arising from industrial decline.

Funding for the Renew project has been provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which offers assistance to capital and support activities including training facilities and infrastructure and the European Social Fund. This provides support to projects that improve an individual's ability to access employment through pre-vocational and vocational training and assistance with job search.

One NorthEast: One NorthEast is the Regional Development Agency for the North East of England. Set up in April 1999, it is responsible for the delivery of the Regional Economic Strategy. Most of the main investments and projects are implemented by several organisations working together. One NorthEast's role is to give a strategic lead and establish a coherent framework to enable others to act. Renew is an innovative community business that creates jobs and training opportunities in East Gateshead and at the same time contributes to a better environment by recycling domestic appliances.

Renew Directors - Company/ Organisation details

Tyneside Training and Enterprise Council: Tyneside TEC has been a keen supporter of the Renew Project throughout the development stages and has provided advice and guidance on training, education and funding issues. When the partnership formally set up the board of Directors, Tyneside TEC agreed to take the chair role - a position it currently holds.

Within the wider regeneration of Gateshead, it is vitally important that local people get the maximum opportunity to access the jobs that are being created. A number of local residents have little or no work skills and the Renew employment and training places are targeting those local people who will most benefit. As well as training in white goods refurbishment, all employees will receive the full range of employability skills with accreditations to equip them to complete on equal terms in the wider jobs market.

Comet Group plc: Comet Group plc is one of the UK's leading retailers of domestic electrical and electronic equipment with over 260 stores nation-wide. Comet provides Renew with technical, environmental and managerial advice and also provides the 10,000 used appliances per year for remanufacture and recycling.

Comet is proud to be associated with Renew, a project which clearly demonstrates how creativity in waste management and recycling can bring benefits not only to the environment, but also to individuals, families and society.

Mikro (small appliances) ltd: Mikro is a local business involved in the refurbishment and sale of small domestic electrical appliances. Mikro has been successfully trading since 1992 and believes its contacts and knowledge in the graded/refurbished market will enable it to assist Renew in achieving the necessary sales targets and pricing structure which in turn will help it to become self sustaining.

Community Logistics: Community Logistics is the operational not-for-profit trading subsidiary of Charity Logistics, a charity registered in 1996. Its aim is to help disadvantaged communities and individuals to grow and to develop. This is achieved with practical support, project partnerships and entrepreneurial energy.

Appropriate resources and opportunities are provided to those in need in a way that brings the greatest improvement to their lives.

Community Logistics is proud to be involved in the Renew North East Project and hope to bring to the enterprise a combination of social business management, expertise in operating New Deal training schemes across the country and assistance with fund raising.

Gateshead Borough Churches Together: GBCT is a council of local church groups covering the whole of the borough who come together to promote the Church's mission through various activities. The churches work closely with the Borough of Gateshead to support local initiatives, which can improve peoples' lives and offer wider opportunities. Hence its involvement and ongoing support for Renew.

Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council: Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council's Economic Development has taken a very active role in the development of Renew. The Council views this project as an important means to re-engage long term unemployed people in the labour market and provide them with transferable skills. In effect, to ensure that local people access local jobs.

In addition the opportunity to address environmental issues through Renew is an important priority. As is the availability of good quality, safe, recycled white goods which can be purchased at a realistic cost by local people.The Council has demonstrated its commitment to Renew through on-going support to funding applications and business development and through provision of a rent free period in the factory unit.

The council is pleased to be represented on the Board of Renew and expects that the company will make a positive impact upon the area where it is located.