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NRAs 2017: Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Innovation

WINNER: Brighter Future

Brighter Future Workshop, based in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, is a not-for-profit charity set up to help young people with disabilities to have a better life. It does this through its purpose-built workshop where people with disabilities are trained to recycle and service mobility equipment including scooters, electric chairs, stair-lifts, lifting equipment and wheelchairs.

It helps to improve the quality of life for disabled and disadvantaged people through its vocational training schemes, set in a workplace environment. This unique combination of work experience and job coaching helps to build confidence, competence and self-esteem.

brighter future

brighter future

The trainees work alongside experienced technicians and mentors, learning hands-on skills in basic mechanical and electronic engineering as well as gaining AQA accreditation.

JUDGES’ COMMENT: “Brighter Future is genuinely changing lives by tackling this specialist waste stream, which is often simply discarded along with general waste electronics but has proven to be a massive resource for the disabled. It provides life-changing opportunities.”

Nationally, the charity believes there are more than 300,000 pieces of mobility equipment that fall under the WEEE regulations and 70% could be recycled and returned to those who are unable to afford new equipment, as well as being saved from entering the waste stream.

Its work helps to reduce social isolation experienced by disabled and disadvantaged people from deprived backgrounds. It also increases access to affordable mobility equipment for people from economically-deprived communities because donated or unwanted equipment is repaired, checked and sanitised before being sold at a very low rate to the public, either in-store or online. All proceeds go directly to the charity.

It has recycled more than 15,000 pieces of mobility equipment – helping the community and the environment. Brighter Future’s aim is to increase this figure, and in turn help tens of thousands of disabled people regain their mobility and independence.

FINALISTS

  • Airedale Computer Recycling
  • KwikSweep
  • Recolight
  • Resource Efficiency Wales
  • Tetronics International

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