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Kirkby charity furnishing young people with restoration skills

REMAKE, Re-use, Recycle is the mantra for a charity in Knowsley which is giving disadvantaged young people a helping hand by training them in practical refurbishment and repairing skills.

The Kirkby-based Centre 63 has used money from a local waste prevention fund to establish the ReMake Yourself Hub, which is working to equip vulnerable young people with a range of upcycling abilities to repair unwanted furniture and bicycles.

Centre 63 is a Church of England Youth Centre which provides community education, activities, initiatives and recreation for young people in Knowsley and Liverpool. The £15,000 of funding for the project has come from the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority (MRWA) and Veolia Community Fund, which was set up to help support waste prevention, re-use and recycling projects locally.

Jeane Lowe, Centre 63 Manager, said: “In providing work experience and accredited courses we are guaranteeing improved knowledge, skills and qualifications for young people in the area.”

The bike repair scheme is giving young people the opportunity to learn about cycle repair and maintenance, as well as earn their own bike so that they are better able to access education, training and employment.

The upholstery training includes hands on skills such as assembling and repairing furniture, machinist techniques, manual work and cleaning, repairing and refurbishing old furniture. Students will also be taught to repurpose items, such as using carpentry work to transform reclaimed wood into shelving, cupboards and tables.

Materials for the work come from vacant properties and public donations. Centre 63 is hoping to open a pop-up shop in Kirkby town centre on a temporary basis where the refurbished items can be sold to the public.

By the end of the Community Fund project in March 2018, Centre 63 expects that they will have:

  • Delivered six 4-week ‘earn a bike and bicycle’ maintenance workshops to a minimum of 120 young people aged 16-25.
  • Provided a bike lending scheme to 140 members of the wider community who have low incomes and transportation difficulties.
  • Supported young people to have refurbished 250 bikes for the wider community.
  • Engaged twelve young people through Centre 63’s Tenancy Support Programme to undertake volunteering and training in upholstery.
  • Diverted 380 bikes and 18 tonnes of material from landfill.

Sisters Sammy and Kim Dumont are just two young people for who the scheme has made a difference. Sammy said: “The Remake Yourself Hub has been so good for me and my sister; it has helped us to grow in confidence and gives us something useful to do. Knowing that we are helping others by upcycling high quality furniture makes us feel so valued.

“Without the project we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves, we have gained lots of skills, met lovely women in the group and have made some lovely things for our own homes out of unwanted materials. The project is brilliant and we should have more of them around.”

Councillor Graham Morgan, Chairperson of MRWA, said: “It’s inspiring to see the effect this project is having by equipping young people – who may not have had too many opportunities recently – with valuable new abilities, as well as giving them the confidence and reassurance that they can learn new skills. 

“The cherry on the cake is that this project is giving a new lease of life to old furniture and bikes, meaning valuable materials will be diverted from landfill. The ReMake Yourself Hub is the exact type of project that the Community Fund is made for.”


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