A charitable retailer that provides employment to islanders with disabilities has helped rescue thousands of items from ending up in the incinerator in its first year of existence - 585 tonnes' worth, to be exact.
Acorn’s 1,600sqm Reuse centre opened in September 2018 to sell 'upcycled' and repaired items collected at the Acorn collection depot at La Collette’s Household Recycling Centre.
The Reuse Centre - Jersey’s largest social enterprise project - is part of Acorn Enterprises which is run by the Jersey Employment Trust (JET).
In its first year, the Centre helped created 50 new jobs and 410 training opportunities to people with disabilities and long-term health conditions.
Pictured: More than 70% of people employed at Acorn Enterprises have a disability or long-term health condition.
The Centre has also proved beneficial to the environment by helping remove more than 585 tonnes of waste from the incinerator.
The social enterprise also benefited low-income families in Jersey and donated to many other different charities by redistributing items to them to make sure everyone can benefit from reuse.
The Salvation Army and Mind Jersey are among the charities the centre supported this year, along with Jersey Africa Projects, who received a piano, which was sent to a small village in Gambia to accompany a children’s church choir.
Pictured: Acorn donated a piano to Jersey Africa Projects.
“The support from the public in our first year has been incredible and the number of donations has been phenomenal,” said Jocelyn Butterworth, Executive Officer at JET.
“The success of Acorn Reuse has far surpassed all our expectations, not just in the amount that we have turned over but in the number of opportunities we have been able to offer, and it’s lovely to see the way we have changed people’s lives.”
While it has been more successful than the charity could have hoped for, the Centre is now needing support from the public support to grow, in order to provide more opportunities for islanders who have a disability or long-term health condition.
Pictured: Acorn wants to grow its activities in the woodshack.
In addition to saving thousands of items, including wood, from going into the waste stream, Acorn wants to be able to take other items that are not reusable at the moment, such as white goods and paint.
They also want to grow the activities in the woodshack, which will soon be refurbished thanks to “a generous donation."
“We continue to need funds for our daily operation, but we also want to do more, so we are now appealing for public support to help develop the organisation further,” Ms Butterworth added. “We want to provide more opportunities and also explore other ways of helping the environment."
Pictured: 585 tonnes have been saved from incineration through the Reuse Centre.
Growing the Centre and Woodshack’s activities will enable more people to benefit from "life-changing opportunities” but it depends on the charity’s ability to find funding for more support staff, Ms Butterworth reminded.
“We have a waiting list through Acorn Training and Development, and that doesn’t sit well with us,” she explained.
“The key to unlocking opportunities is more support staff, to enable people to move on through the system to gain employment. And the thing is, our clients can be anyone from any walk of life. We are here for a very diverse range of needs including, increasingly, mental health issues.”
Pictured: It is hoped the Reuse Centre will be able to recycle white goods and paint in the future.
Acorn has therefore launched its ‘Business For Good’ campaign because to raise awareness of what they do through short videos created by Studio M through their initiative 'Studio M for Change.'
Steve Pearce, General Manager at Acorn Enterprises, said: “We are seeing an increasing demand for our services and although we are always looking at ways to generate income for the charity, it’s still donations large or small that really help us get things off the ground and expand the training and development we provide.”
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