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Wirral recycling volunteers sew together and grow together

A community group made up of ten volunteers from Wirral have got together to help each other whilst helping the environment – one stitch at a time.

The Friends of Bebington Central Library set up a club last year to overcome loneliness and isolation through sewing – by repairing clothes, reprocessing old materials into new products and discouraging the use of cheap and flimsy materials.

The Bebington Civic Centre-based organisation have been delivering the Sew Friendly Project using money received from a waste grant to help inspire re-use and recycling across Wirral. They were awarded just under £2000 from the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority (MRWA) and Veolia Community Fund 2018/19, which was set up to help support waste prevention, re-use and recycling projects.

Friends of Bebington Central Library used the funding to purchase new sewing machines, an overlocker machine and other sewing equipment such as cuttings mats, roller cutters, roller blades, quilter’s rulers, machine needles and threads.

New items created from old materials include patchwork quilts, cushions, handbags, shopping bags and mittens. All of the items are sold locally with any profit put back into the project.
In the twelve months since it was established, the group have held 39 sewing workshops, saved over half a tonne of material from going to waste and contributed 420 voluntary hours in encouraging textiles recycling and re-use amongst the local community.

Chair of the Friends of Bebington Library, Di Oliver, said: “The sewing project came about to improve the mental and physical health of participants and we believe ours to be the first such project in the region. It really shows the effectiveness of working together towards a goal in a friendly, supportive and caring environment to improve self-worth, esteem and mental wellbeing.”

The group has been working with Sefton charity Emmaus Merseyside to use leather from old sofas which the Friends of Bebington have transformed into bags and holdalls. In return for the leather, the Friends of Bebington have made quilt covers for Emmaus companions*.

As well as the sewing and recycling element, the project also saw participants take part in film, book and writing clubs.

Di Oliver continued: “In my experience people who learn to create in a group become less isolated and find they make friendships that are lasting. Their creativity helps them to overcome personal issues.”

Chairperson of MRWA, Councillor Tony Concepcion, said: “This is a wonderful project which has had a real impact on local people. We’ve had bigger Community Fund projects before, but pound for pound this has been one of the best we’ve been involved with. It’s been really well run, re-used materials that otherwise might have gone to waste, and has engaged with the small but enthusiastic group of participants on all sorts of levels from recycling and re-use to self-worth and well-being.

“We wish them all the best for the future and thank them for the impact they’ve made.”


Note to editors

– Image caption –
MRWA_SEW1_2019: The Friends of Bebington Library (sat middle fourth from right Di Oliver)
MRWA_SEW2_2019: sewing session with Friends of Bebington Library

– *Emmaus supports people (“companions”) who have experienced homelessness by providing them with a home and meaningful work in a community setting.

Members of the media for more information please contact:

John Lally
Marketing and Communications Officer
Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority
Direct Dial: 0151 255 2568
General enquiries: 0151 255 1444

Mersey community groups clinch £110,000 environmental fund (15 June 2016)

Ten Merseyside and Halton community groups have received a funding boost to help make the region a cleaner and greener place.

The financial shot-in-the-arm will see the groups help reduce household waste, encourage recycling and resource re-use, and prevent carbon emissions.

The £110,000 is coming from the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority and Veolia Community Fund 2016/17, which has been running annually since 2006.

Projects funded include the repair and re-use of unused furniture, cookery clubs to help reduce food waste, a scheme to increase recycling with Liverpool’s Roma community, bicycle repair and re-use, an interactive large-scale artwork in Liverpool city centre, and unwanted wood and timber waste re-use at a local community farm.

Successful applicants have been awarded up to £25,000 for schemes which operate across Merseyside and Halton, and up to £8,000 for projects which work solely at local authority level.

Chairperson of Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA), Councillor Graham Morgan, said: “We’ve made this money available for projects which can have an impact on their local community and make Merseyside and Halton a cleaner and greener place for us all to live and work. Giving groups the opportunity to get involved in looking after their environment can only bring benefits to all and can help us appreciate items as valuable resources rather than something which otherwise might be just thrown away.”

Details of each project:

Centre 63 – Bike Back 63 (Knowsley): The ‘Bike Back 63’ project will take in unwanted bikes from the Knowsley community and cheap bikes from auctions then refurbish them to a state ‘as new’ before selling them at an affordable price back into the local community. This scheme will give young people the opportunity to learn about cycle repair and maintenance and earn their own bike.

The Children’s Food Trust – Mersey Waste Munchers (Merseyside & Halton): The Trust will set up 20 ‘Mersey Waste Muncher’ clubs – targeting young adults aged 16-25 and providing a two-day course, arming club leaders with the skills and support to establish cookery clubs that focus on reducing food waste. Clubs will receive funding, training and printed resources to teach others how to change their food waste behaviour.

Emmaus Merseyside – Upcycle It (Sefton): Upcycle It is about giving homeless people the skills to design and make attractive furniture and household accessories from waste otherwise destined for landfill. Customers at the Emmaus superstore in Seaforth will be buying the fashionable upcycled products created by volunteers.

Faiths4Change – Turning the Tables (Merseyside & Halton): Turning the Tables will deliver a series of learning workshops enabling people to gain skills to revitalise unwanted furniture and textiles, simultaneously contributing to an interactive artwork to be exhibited in Liverpool city centre next spring.

Granby Toxteth Development Trust – Recycle L1578 (Liverpool): The Trust will build upon their work with local disadvantaged communities, including whose first language isn’t English, to improve awareness of the opportunities to waste less and re-use and recycle more.

Halton Play Council – Scrapstore (Halton): Halton Play Council operates a re-use Scrapstore and children’s Play Resource Centre in Runcorn, which is open to the general public and community groups and supports the work of their children’s charity. The grant will help promote the Scrapstore to the local community and encourage more donations of reusable items like toys, furniture and textiles. Volunteers will be trained in the collection, repair and retail of these reusable resources.

HoneyRose Foundation – Storage Facility (St Helens): This project will provide improved storage facilities for the HoneyRose Foundation’s charity shops allowing increased re-use and recycling of furniture and other donated household materials. The facility will also provide a workshop area to facilitate the repair and reuse of items.

Liverpool Guild of Students – Leave Liverpool Tidy (Liverpool): Leave Liverpool Tidy is a reduce, reuse, and recycle project which aims to reduce the amount of reusable items going to landfill at the end of the academic year. The project will collect unwanted materials and redistribute cleaned and repaired items back to new students and the local community through free shops.

Neighbourhood Services Company – Reusing Waste Wood for Improved Environmental Facilities at Home Farm (Knowsley and Liverpool): The project will be located at NSC’s Home Farm in Croxteth Park and will re-use waste wood from domestic properties and gardens to improve visitor facilities and livestock conditions at the farm and provide training opportunities in re-use.

Sustrans – Eastham Centre Community Cycling Hub (Wirral): The Eastham Centre Community Cycling Hub delivers cycling activities to adults with learning difficulties and the local community. In this new project the Cycling Hub will employ a qualified bike mechanic to repair and maintain bicycles, upcycle old bicycles for reuse, and deliver bike maintenance courses to Centre users.


Carl Beer, Chief Executive of MRWA, said: “It was a tough job having to sort through some excellent applications. The projects picked for funding really seem to understand the importance of resource efficiency and community education. We’re really looking forward to seeing what they achieve.”

Groundwork Cheshire, Lancashire and Merseyside are one organisation to have previously benefitted from the Community Fund. Groundwork’s Project Manager, Jon Hutchinson, said: “MRWA’s Community Fund has been pivotal in enabling Project UP to establish a furniture upcycling base in Widnes. We teach young unemployed people how to restore beaten up items of furniture and we donate them back into the community. This year we also delivered a series of roadshow events teaching members of the public how to transform their own furniture and avoid throwing out perfectly usable items.”

Projects have until March 2017 to deliver their schemes.

The impact of the 2015/16 Community Fund saw 71 full time equivalent jobs created or safeguarded, participation by 253 volunteers, 680 tonnes of waste material diverted from landfill and £68,000 of equivalent landfill costs avoided.



Note to editors

Picture captions of previous Community Fund projects (2015/16):
(G31A6563): Onya Bike scheme in Kensington – Left to right, MRWA waste strategy policy officer Glynn Stevenson, Onya volunteer Frank Maddocks and Kensington Vision CIC director Stephen Faragher inside the bike shop.
(G31A1694sml): Legh Vale Primary School in Haydock – pupils with headteacher Andy Howard (back, right) and MRWA waste strategy policy officer Glynn Stephenson (left) in the school garden.
Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority is responsible for the disposal of municipal waste on Merseyside. Established in 1986 following the abolition of Merseyside County Council, it is a statutory Authority that works with all the local authorities on Merseyside – Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. MRWA takes a lead in advocating recycling, waste minimisation and safe and effective disposal of waste for Merseyside residents.
Media contact:

John Lally
Marketing and Communications Officer
Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority
Direct Dial: 0151 255 2568
General enquiries: 0151 255 1444

Merseyside Recycling Centres switch to shorther winter hours (25 Sept 2015)

Merseyside’s Recycling Centres are set to switch to their shorter winter opening hours.

From Thursday 1st October the Centres will be open from 8.00am until 5.00pm* – changing from the summer hours of 8.00am to 8.00pm.

Carl Beer, Chief Executive of MRWA, said: “Merseyside householders can use the Centres to recycle a host of items – from cans, car batteries and cardboard to garden waste, glass bottles and jars, paper, scrap metal, textiles and timber, and more.”

There are 13 Household Waste Recycling Centres in the region. They are operated by Veolia on behalf of Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA).

Knowsley: Huyton, Kirkby

Liverpool: Otterspool

Sefton: Formby, Sefton Meadows, South Sefton, Southport

St Helens: Newton-le-Willows, Ravenhead, Rainhill

Wirral: Bidston, Clatterbridge, West Kirby

The Centre at South Sefton in Bootle is home to the YMCA Community Re-use Shop. The shop is the first of its kind in Merseyside and accepts used and ‘pre-loved’ items from householders which have been dropped off at the Recycling Centre. Instead of being landfilled or recycled, the donations are cleaned and put up for sale. They include furniture, children’s’ toys, electrical items and tools/bric-a-brac.

If you’re planning to visit a Recycling Centre in a van or with a long trailer then you will need a Permit to get in.



From October 1st 2015 until March 31st 2016 Merseyside’s Household Waste Recycling Centres will be open from 8.00am until 5.00pm*. The Centres are located at:

Knowsley –

Huyton – Wilson Road – L36 6AD Kirkby – Depot Road, Knowsley Industrial Park – L33 3AR

Liverpool –

Otterspool – Jericho Lane, Aigburth – L17 5AR

Sefton –

Formby – Altcar Road, Formby – L37 8EG Sefton Meadows – Sefton Lane, Maghull – L31 8BX Southport – Foul Lane, Scarisbrick New Road – PR9 7RG South Sefton – Irlam Road, Bootle – L20 4AE

St Helens –

Newton-le-Willows – Junction Lane – WA12 8DN *Rainhill – Tasker Terrace, Rainhill – L35 4NX Ravenhead – Burtonhead Road, St. Helens – WA9 5EA

Wirral –

Bidston – Wallasey Bridge Road, Birkenhead – CH41 1EB Clatterbridge – Mount Road, Clatterbridge – CH63 4JZ

West Kirby – Greenbank Road – CH48 5HR



Monday to Friday: Open 8.00am-5.00pm

Saturdays: Open 9.00am-5.00pm

Sundays: Open 9.00am–3.00pm

MRWA is a local government body with nine elected members from the five constituent councils in Merseyside. It organises and manages disposal of all waste collected by the five councils and operates 13 Household Waste Recycling Facilities.

What’s in your black bag? MRWA recycling campaign rolls out across Merseyside (9th June 2014)

A campaign to improve recycling rates at Household Waste Recycling Centres is being rolled out across Merseyside.

The education campaign launched by Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) and its contractor Veolia, is focusing on black bin bags of household ‘waste’ which are sent to landfill. This campaign has already proved a huge success after trials in St Helens.

It involves staff at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) asking visitors to think about what materials can be recycled at their local HWRC’s and consider how they can reduce the amount of ‘black bin bag’ waste going to landfill.

The campaign provides members of the public the opportunity to learn more about what can and can’t be recycled at HWRC’s whilst encouraging people to sort recyclable materials at home.

MRWA Member Cllr Robertson-Collins said: “This is an important step for staff at the Household Waste Recycling Centre to actively engage with the people using the centre and to raise awareness. Many people still just do not realise that almost all ‘waste’ can be re-used or recycled! Well done to the MRWA for working to prevent things going to landfill unnecessarily.”

MRWA Chief Executive, Carl Beer, said: “Hundreds of people turn up at HWRCs with black bin bags of waste that would normally have gone into their rubbish bins. The campaign is about showing residents that most of what they bring can actually be recycled – and could even have been simply left out for their regular kerbside recycling collections if they sort it first.”

MRWA Chairperson, Councillor Graham Morgan, said: “The pilot has been great. People have been surprised when they learned what they could have recycled using kerbside collections or recycling containers at HWRCs.”

The black bag campaign, which piloted at St Helens’ redeveloped Ravenhead site, will now be extended to HWRCs elsewhere across Merseyside.


PICTURE CAPTION :  Cllr Laura Robertson-Collins, Chair of Liverpool City Council’s Neighbourhoods Select Committee (centre) with MRWA Chief Executive, Carl Beer (left) and Mike Carroll (right) from Veolia help to launch the black bag campaign at Otterspool Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Media contact: Colette Gill Tel: 0151 255 2527