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(20 March 2019) Pioneering charity clocks up 10,000 volunteer hours to help boost re-use and recycling

Volunteers for a local charity have worked tirelessly for thousands of hours over the last year to help reduce, re-use and recycle across Wirral.

Pioneer People Wirral have been collecting bicycles, tools, furniture, clothes, scrap wood and scrap metal since April 2018 and in doing so have stopped over 11 tonnes of useful materials from going to waste. Over that time local helpers have contributed 10,664 volunteer hours to spread positive environmental messages.

The Pensby-based organisation have been delivering the Inside Art & Upcycle Project using money received from a waste grant to help inspire re-use and recycling across Wirral. They were awarded over £7000 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.

Donated clothing is sorted then sold locally, sent for recycling or shipped to Africa. Furniture, wood and metal are up-cycled by volunteers and sold through the charity’s shops with funds re-invested in local community projects. Tools are refurbished and used in a local community workshop, upcycled or shipped overseas. Pioneer People have two charity shops, a monthly warehouse sale, links to social welfare charities and also send two 40 foot shipping containers each year to Kenya and Gambia.

A partnership with Liverpool Prison has been a key part of the project with inmates learning new skills – such as welding, forging metal and general DIY – to help repair old or broken bicycles. Over 300 bikes have been refurbished and sold.

Prisoners have also been using waste materials to create art pieces which have been sold through Pioneer People’s charity shops.

Mark Johnston, Project Director at Pioneer People, said: “Enabling prisoners to learn new skills, gain qualifications and make a contribution to society are all critical elements in reducing re-offending. The positive activities and recognition of skills can genuinely help reduce self-harm, drug misuse and suicide attempts and massively aid resettlement into the community upon release.

“Regarding our volunteers, many of them report that involvement helps reduce social isolation, especially some of our retired men who can find it hard coming to terms with the end of a career. Much of the refurbishing activity is also really good exercise. Bringing very affordable bikes to the market place helps encourage the take up of exercise and reduce the reliance on cars and public transport.”

Councillor Tony Concepcion, Chairperson of MRWA, said: “We’re astonished at the number of hours the Pioneer People volunteers – and prisoners – have put in to help increase recycling and re-use. They are giving up their own time to make a real difference to the community they live in. I’d like to give a big thank you to everyone involved in this brilliant project.”


Note to editors

– Image caption – (L to R) Mark Johnson of Pioneer People with project volunteers at an end of project event in the Pioneer People charity salesroom and warehouse, Arrowe Park. (Other pictures are available on request).

– Pioneer People Wirral is a Christian charity which focusses on providing community services within the Wirral and overseas countries, mainly Albania, Kenya and The Gambia. Local provision focuses on young people, people with disabilities, social enterprise and volunteering. For more info see

– 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.

– MRWA operates (via a contract with resource management company Veolia) 14 Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC’s) for householders in the Merseyside area wishing to recycle and dispose of their own waste.

– The MRWA and Veolia Community Fund 2018/19 has seen 14 community groups from Merseyside and Halton receive a funding boost to help make the region a cleaner and greener place. The financial support will see the groups help reduce household waste, encourage recycling and resource re-use, and prevent carbon emissions. For more information see

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