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NRAs 2014: Best Partnership Project

Winner: Lancashire Community Recycling Network

Lancashire’s Care and Urgent Needs Support Scheme, which replaced the Department for Work and Pensions’ community care grants in 2013, is a national example of best practice in partnership working between the public and community sector.

On behalf of Lancashire County Council, eight local furniture reuse organisations (FROs) now collect and redistribute unwanted and surplus furniture to those on low incomes – items which would have otherwise been landfilled at the council’s expense. Stock is sourced from bulky waste collection services and direct bulky waste collections from the public, carried out by the FROs.

“This is a wide-reaching partnership that is providing an important service to people in social need. The sheer number of organisations involved demonstrates true partnership. It is very hard to do.”

The Judges

After consultation with Lancashire Community Resource Network members, a service level agreement was developed with each FRO, the council’s head of welfare rights and Lancashire Waste PFI’s community sector development officer to pilot the service.

The partnership has led to financial benefit for the council in not having to buy new items for those referred to it for support.

Other benefits include: addressing poverty and supplying goods to those in need; creating employment, particularly for the long-term unemployed and marginalised individuals; increasing the financial sustainability of FROs; and ensuring that surplus income generated is reinvested back into the local community.

With 70% of referrals needing to be completed within two days and the remainder within 10 days, all parties have demonstrated excellent service delivery and working relationships. By working together, each group has been able to meet the needs of its immediate area and provide a back-up to neighbouring areas when needed.

The scheme adheres to the waste hierarchy and increases the emphasis on reuse.

The Finalists:

  • Highly Commended: WARPit (WasteAction Resource Efficiency)

Sunderland City Council signed up to resource distribution network WARPit in 2010, when a restructure meant it had redundant furniture it did not want to landfill. This led the Sunderland Partnership, a group of private, public and third sector organisations, to further develop WARPit. Funding was found to widen the network to include 300 schools, the local NHS trust, Sunderland University and Voluntary and Community Action Sunderland. These organisations now all cut costs and waste by swapping or loaning resources such as office furniture, electrical items and stationery through an online system.

  • Croydon Council; Veolia Environmental Services and Surrey Street Market stallholders
  • Environment Agency; Energy UK; Rijkswaterstaat; NIEA; CIWM; ORG; ESA; Life+
  • LV= and SOS The Lord’s Taverners Kit Aid
  • Recofloor, Axion Consulting; Altro; Polyflor
  • Sims Recycling Solutions and Husqvarna UK & Ireland
  • The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) UK and Sonoco Alcore


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