Local trainees giving old furniture new lease of life

Trainee Paul Doherty puts the final coat of paint on a piece of furniture at 4r's Reuse. (DER4613PG108)
Trainee Paul Doherty puts the final coat of paint on a piece of furniture at 4r's Reuse. (DER4613PG108)

The phrase ‘waste not, want not’ is applicable to the 4Rs Recycling Workshop in Derry.

The workshop is part of the Resource Centre Derry (RCD) organisation and they specialise in recycling old pieces of furniture.

4r's Reuse trainee's Mary McBrearty, left, and Ann McLaughlin. (DER4613PG104)

4r's Reuse trainee's Mary McBrearty, left, and Ann McLaughlin. (DER4613PG104)

Located right beside the Civic Amenity Site in the Pennyburn Industrial Estate, the workshop resides in a large and very spacious building owned by Derry City Council.

The workshop is full of once unwanted wardrobes, chests of drawers and beds. The items of furniture have been completely transformed by young trainees from all over the city. The recycled furniture is then resold and the money is then reinvested into the RCD organisation.

The organisation not only offer places to trainees interested in woodwork and painting they also offer the opportunity to train in administration, sales and customer services.

Paul Doherty is one of 23 trainees currently operating out of the 4Rs workshop.



Paul joined the organisation earlier this year and has developed a skill for re-spraying furniture.

“I just love it here,” said 24 year old Paul.

“The staff are brilliant to work with and they explain to us what they want from us really well.

“I came in here first through the ‘Steps to Work’ programme. Not only am I really enjoying the work that I am doing here but I am also learning new skills.

“I spent two years studying at the North West Regional College and now I am here. I feel I am moving in the right direction.

“I would hope within the next year to have set-up my own business with my friend. He is looking at a wee place for our workshop. He’d look after the woodwork and I would look after the paint - hopefully it works out,” he smiled.

Aiden Toland is 19 years-old and is originally from London. Aiden moved to Derry from London with the rest of his family recently and said the 4Rs Recycling Workshop is helping him towards securing a job.

“I really like painting and working with wood - I’ve been given the chance to do that here.

“People have donated some amazing pieces of furniture. One time a person came in off the street with a dentists’ cabinet which was over 100 years old.

“We took great care with the cabinet, sanded it down and re-varnished it - it was good as new.”

Joe Brolly is the workshop’s Recycling Manager. Joe said the organisation would not be in the position they are today if were not for the enthusiasm and hard work of the trainees.

“We have boys and girls, men and women of all ages at the workshop.

“Some of the recycled furniture that they have produced since we opened in April this year has been amazing.

“It is the trainees who have made this place into what it is. Their enthusiasm and hard work are like nothing I have ever seen before.”

Paddy McCarron is the RCD Training Manager and he said the 4Rs Recycling Workshop is a valuable asset to the local community.

“This workshop not only helps to give people a set of skills but it also helps to reduce the amount of discarded materials going into landfills.

“We have a great working relationship with Derry City Council and their help and support has been integral.

“The way Derry City Council look at it is that if we can use something that’s been thrown away and change it into something that people are willing to pay money for then it not only helps the local community but it also reduces the amount of waste the Council have to deal with.

“The trainees are a joy to work with. We include them in as much of what goes on around here as we possibly can.

“The workshop has the Derry community had its core. We are a not for profit and all of the money made is pumped back into the RCD.”

For more information on the 4Rs Recycling Workshop telephone 028 71 360 453 or visit their website http://www.resourcecentrederry.co.uk/