Environmental upcycling project helping young people gain skills

Local people working at the 4Rs social enterprise project in Derry. (Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)
Local people working at the 4Rs social enterprise project in Derry. (Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)

Dozens of young people in Derry are improving their employment prospects while doing their bit for the environment by upcycling old furniture and machinery.

The young people are working as part of a social enterprise in Derry funded by the Housing Executive.

The ‘4Rs Reuse Workshop,’ based near the Amenity Site at Pennyburn Industrial Estate, received a £20,000 investment award from the Housing Executive’s Social Housing Enterprise programme.

Established in 2013, the 4Rs upcycles unwanted furniture and electrical goods for resale, while providing training opportunities in the process.

Manager, Joe Brolly said: “We were delighted to receive this funding from the Housing Executive which is being used to provide training for 30 people in woodwork and engineering NVQ Level 2 courses.

“The participants are young people from the local area who have left school without any or very few qualifications.

“Attending our workshop allows them to gain a qualification helping to improve their employment opportunities and gain access to further education, while also building up their confidence and self-esteem.

“Our workshop will also benefit from an increase in the number of items being sold in the retail unit, thereby generating more income to sustain the social enterprise and hopefully creating more employment opportunities.”

Housing Executive Social Enterprise Manager, Paul Carland said: “We are delighted to support this worthwhile initiative which will benefit local young people and improve their employment prospects.

“The third round of the Social Housing Enterprise programme is now open to applications within Housing Executive communities.

“We are encouraging individuals and local groups with ideas which will help create a more vibrant community, to get in touch.”

Since its launch in 2015, the Housing Executive has invested nearly £1m - creating 37 new jobs and supporting a further 24 existing posts - in communities through its Social Housing Enterprise programme.

Projects include community cafés and mental health support services.

Social Housing Enterprise applications are now open with awards available of up to £10,000, £20,000 and £50,000. The deadline for applications is Friday, June 16 at 4.00 p.m.

For more information or to access an application form visit www.nihe.gov.uk or email socialinvestments@nihe.gov.uk