Twenty new joinery apprenticeships have been created at a new £500k ‘ReUse’ refuse management and recycling centre at Pennyburn.
The centre was opened on Tuesday by Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan and Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland.
The project was funded by the Departments of Social Development and Environment and Derry City Council.
The investment has secured three full-time employment contracts for an initial two year period.
An investment to the tune of £484,000 saw a vehicle garage adjacent to the Pennyburn Recycling Centre converted to the ReUse centre.
The aim of the project is, where and when possible, to transform materials brought to the waste management site, such as discarded white goods, furniture, bikes, toys etc, for reuse.
The apprentices will be taught joinery, furniture repair and sales skills that will boost their future job prospects.
The refitted goods will then be offered for resale or distributed to those in need, benefitting both the environment and the local community.
Minister Durkan described the project as a win-win for Derry.
“The ReUse Centre will deliver three major benefits, improving the environment, the local economy and employment opportunities for young people.
“This facility will keep items out of landfill, assist Derry’s drive to become a sustainable city, not to mention divert 500 tonnes of waste per year from landfill.
“The ReUse Centre will provide quality, good value products for the community and will keep money in the local economy.
“The estimated £50,000 per year in landfill cost savings can now be invested in more worthwhile activities by the council rather than being buried in the ground.
“The refurbishment of items provides novel opportunities and skills to help our young people find jobs.
“What I and DOE are about is a better environment and a stronger economy and this will help towards that goal.”
Minister McCausland added: “This is a fantastic achievement for the 4Rs Social Enterprise Project who have successfully used their Northern Ireland Executive funding, from the DSD Neighbourhood Renewal and DOE Rethink Waste programmes, to build their organisation’s capacity and offer a new service in the area.
“This is a prime example of what can be achieved by joint Departmental funding, and I want to wish the group well.”
Mayor of Derry, Councillor, Martin Reilly said: “I am delighted Derry City Council and local enterprise ‘The Resource Centre’ have worked together to deliver this project. This can only be seen as a positive step towards protecting our natural environment. The facilitation of the ReUse Centre in the city thus delivers on the key themes of the One Plan including Sustainable City, Education and Skills, Employment and Economy and Building Better Communities.”