Recycling Lives charity shares depot with Chorley Council

Recycling Lives UK has taken up residence at one of Chorley Council’s town centre recycling depots. The collaboration between charity and Council is set to add social value to Chorley, with local employment opportunities available, as well as plans to boost local start-ups and contribute to successful outcomes for the charity’s Residents.

The Recycling Lives UK charity, which provides accommodation and employment opportunities to homeless people, has set up at the council’s Bengal Street site, renting 60% of it from the local authority for the next 15 years. Metal buying, scrap car buying, and waste recycling facilities will all be delivered from the site, along with similar services by Chorley Council.

The partnership between Recycling Lives UK and Chorley Council is part of the Council’s efforts to reduce costs and generate income from its buildings to provide better value for local residents. This new, ethical method of funding is set to transform both the Third and Public Sectors.

Councillor Peter Wilson, Deputy Leader of Chorley Council, said: “In the difficult economic climate we have been doing all we can to look at where we can save money and looking at the accommodation we use has been a big part of that.

“By making better use of the space we have at the Town Hall and Union Street offices we have been able to vacate the vast majority of the office space at Bengal Street and we have been looking for organisations interested in using the site.”

Recycling Lives is already up and running at the Bengal Street site, which is situated on a main route through the town. Over the coming months, the charity aims to develop the complex further by improving the yard surface with fresh concrete, and erect a new building for metal and WEEE recycling. Planning permission is currently being awaited for these, as well as conversion of the existing offices into living accommodation for the charity’s Residents and business “incubators”, in which local start-ups are provided with office space, extensive facilities, and advice and guidance. If given the go-ahead, Chorley will benefit even more from the charity’s expansion.

“It would be a really good fit for us because getting people back into work and preventing homelessness are two key areas of work for the council,” added Councillor Wilson.

For Recycling Lives, this new service is the beginning of a series of spokes from the hub of its operations: the Recycling Lives Recycling Park on Longridge Road in Preston. The hub and spoke model has been embraced by the Recycling Lives social welfare charity as an effective way of bringing together a diverse range of services and partnership operations underpinned by their ethos and social, environmental, and charitable benefits. The Bengal site will run independently, but use tried-and-tested systems and procedures from Recycling Lives’ established operations.

Recycling Lives Ltd., the social business that funds the Recycling Lives UK charity, will be a crucial part of this and future spoke projects that the charity will run. The social business will fund the charity’s non-profit operations by purchasing scrap metal from the Bengal Street site. Resources from other Recycling Lives operations will be put to use at Bengal Street to support the work of the staff, who will eventually form a team of 15, comprising existing Recycling Lives employees and new intake from Chorley.

Recycling Lives’ founder and CEO, Steve Jackson OBE, added:

“Since the introduction of the Social Value Act, councils have been striving to provide the communities they work in with even better value for their money. People want to see their local authorities working with organisations that offer more – and Recycling Lives strives to do that in every project we undertake.

“Working in partnership with Chorley Council at their Bengal Street Depot enables Recycling Lives to deliver even more of its ethical, charity-led recycling and waste management services to local businesses and people, while generating valuable revenue for the Council itself. We’re optimistic about this collaboration and look forward to future developments with every other local authority across the North West.”