Unwanted goods give NEETs valuable skills

A NEW project launched last week will see young people in Wiltshire gain new skills and help the environment by refurbishing items thrown away at the tip.

Youngsters not in education, employment or training will restore furniture and white goods at The Repair Academy, a warehouse at Calne’s Porte Marsh Industrial Estate.

The trial project, which will run until the end of 2014, has received a £58,000 grant from Wiltshire Police Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson, and the youngsters were recruited to the scheme through Community First and Youth Action Wiltshire.

They are being trained to refurbish the items by engineers from Kennet Furniture Recycling and Waste Not Want Not, and their efforts will help disadvantaged families needing furniture.

Sam Hill, from Youth Action Wiltshire, said: “The main hope is that they will leave this project to go into employment or training.

“For some of them college is still an option and some of them are not able to go to college.”

Karl Crawford, 17, from Salisbury, left school after taking his GCSEs.

He has been unemployed since, but would like to work as a plumber.

He said: “Since leaving school I’ve been at a bit of a loose end, but this will hopefully get me into the job market.

I enjoy not being bored all day. It’s good to be out and about.”

Hills Waste, Wiltshire Council, and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust are also part of the programme, as well as Waste Not Want Not, Wiltshire College and Swindon College.

The items to be refurbished will come from three recycling sites run by Hills Waste at Lower Compton, near Calne, Melksham and Marlborough.

Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott said: “We are aiming to achieve more sustainable ways to manage Wiltshire’s waste, by reducing and reusing items which would have gone straight to landfill, while also delivering a wide range of local benefits.”

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