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Doug North

Repair Academy appoints project manager

An innovative scheme that sees unwanted items from Wiltshire’s recycling centres repaired and re-used has appointed its first project manager.

Doug North has extensive experience in working in the voluntary and community sector and will lead the development of the Repair Academy.

The social enterprise is a joint initiative between Hills Waste Solutions and Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Community First, Kennet Furniture Refurbiz, Waste Not Want Not, Wiltshire College and Swindon College.

Hills Waste Solutions and Wiltshire Council are currently running a pilot scheme at three of the council’s household recycling centres at Devizes, Melksham, and Marlborough. Staff on site identify a limited amount of suitable furniture, certain white goods and bric-a-brac for donation to The Repair Academy.

The pilot scheme will run until the end of 2014 after which the academy will be set up as an independent charity or social enterprise.

The aims of the initiative are to:

  • Create social, economic and environmental value by transforming unwanted products into desirable goods
  • Support people in need by helping them gain skills for employment and life
  • Change public opinion to make used and repaired items more attractive
  • Foster an attitude of re-use and repair of materials.

Doug said: “The Repair Academy is a fantastic opportunity within Wiltshire helping to unite the voluntary and community sector even more. Having spent time working in a similar role I could not resist the opportunity that the Repair Academy has presented.

“With the capability of saving tonnes of usable items from landfill, to then be used for training and development, and finally ending up in a household which could not normally afford these same basic, refurbished items, makes a fantastic prospect.

“It’s going to be a challenging year getting the project operating to capacity, but with the continued support of the partners involved, I have every confidence that it will be a success.”

Emma Chapman, director of business and commercial services for The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust said: “The appointment of Doug North is crucial to the success of the Repair Academy.

“With the ongoing support of all the partners, we have a fantastic opportunity to showcase this flagship project and eventually widen its reach to cover Wiltshire, benefitting more young people and local communities and reducing waste.”