Barnsley Wood Recycling Scheme to Help People Back to Work
A new enterprise has been launched in Barnsley to recycle unwanted wood into everything from kindling and fence posts to toys and furniture.
Barnsley Wood Recycling, which is being assisted by the business support programme Enterprising Barnsley, will also help people get back into work
The project is being developed by Mark Powell who has been involved in setting up many social enterprises over the last 20 years, including Reclaim, a plastics recycling business in Sheffield which employed a workforce of 50, many with learning disabilities and mental health issues.
Run as a social firm, Barnsley Wood Recycling will initially work with two people on probation and gradually increase its workforce as demand increases. The plan is to offer opportunities to people who may traditionally find it hard to enter, or get back into, the jobs market.
Mark said: "It is important to realise that our business is about people. Whether we work with wood or plastics or kryptonite it doesn't matter; it's all about work-based experience, employment opportunities and training."
The wood, which could be anything from unwanted pallets to railway sleepers, will initially be turned into kindling for fires or cleaned up for re-sale. But the plan is to gradually increase the products available.
Malcolm Poskitt, an experienced craftsman and work supervisor, will be the man in charge of the actual woodworking.
"What we make will depend on what comes in. For example we can turn old railway sleepers into heavy duty garden benches. But we are also looking at making kids' toys, picture frames, mirror frames, shelving and fencing for example," said Malcolm.
Barnsley Wood Recycling is based at Grange Lane Industrial Estate, Stairfoot, and has been receiving a range of support from Enterprising Barnsley.
Mark said: "We were not getting the support we needed until Enterprising Barnsley came along. Now they have given us help over the logo and website and HR and they have put us in touch with other businesses we can work with. It really has been a boost to get us going."
The Enterprising Barnsley programme has helped create or protect more than 1,000 jobs by offering coaching support. It also offers free or subsidised office space or "hubs" and runs networking events.
It has attracted £2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe's support for the region's economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.
Shaun Higginbottom, from Enterprising Barnsley, said: "It's great to see all sorts of different ways to create jobs and get people back into work. As this scheme grows so will the employment opportunities.
"As well as supporting the environment by reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill they are providing local job opportunities. It's the sort of innovative thinking that we are seeing increasingly from Barnsley businesses."
Attached photo shows (left to right): Malcolm Poskitt and Mark Powell.