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NRAs 2019: Waste Reduction Initiative – Public/Third Sector

WINNER: Oxfordshire County Council and Community Action Group Project Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire County Council worked with the Community Action Group (CAG) Project to deliver an incredibly successful Valpakfunded project to establish a network of electrical repair cafes.

Between November 2017 and November 2018, 49 repair cafes were held, with more than 1,500 attendees, saving nearly two tonnes of electrical items from being thrown away.

JUDGES’ COMMENT: “This scheme brings together communities and is an example of positive action. It offers a blueprint for other areas to follow and has already looked at developments and alternative funding”

The project identified local people with skills to train other volunteers and upskill people so they could run their own events. In addition, through providing a shared bank of equipment, ‘how to’ guides and support, the events are now sustainable, and every group intends to continue to organise such cafes after the funding has finished. Many are even extending their events to clothing, bikes or other repairs.

Community-run repair activities are not normally co-ordinated at county level. The joint publicity of activities across districts and the sharing of skills and resources were particularly reflective of the innovative partnership work between communities and councils in Oxfordshire. The CAG Project, funded by Oxfordshire County Council and managed by Resource Futures, is the largest localised community network in the UK.

The project tapped into the keenness of groups to organise events that could reduce waste and stimulate a culture of reuse and repair in their areas, and that of local authorities to support groups to establish electrical repair cafes and promote circular economy principles.

The groups raised more than £2,000 in donations, bringing much-needed income to sustain local activities and continue the repair cafes after the initial Valpak funding. One group was awarded a £1,650 grant by its district council to continue to fund the work.


  • Air Ambulance Service
  • Basildon Council
  • Carpet Recycling UK
  • DSL Business Finance
  • Milford Youth Matters
  • Sharpsmart and City Hospitals Sunderland
  • Wastesavers

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