Help sought for recycling scheme helping vulnerable people in Kettering

Mayor Keli Watts with Jessica Flynn, at the opening of KCU's furniture charity shop in June 2013
Mayor Keli Watts with Jessica Flynn, at the opening of KCU's furniture charity shop in June 2013

A Kettering charity has appealed for other organisations to get involved in a scheme to help vulnerable people in the borough.

The Kettering Community Recycling Forum has been set up by charity KCU to ensure unwanted household items are delivered to tenants in social housing who have little in the way of furniture.

The scheme ensures items avoid being sent to landfill and are used to make a difference to people’s lives.

It already has the backing of Kettering Council, private companies like Asda, Drapers Furnishers and RJ Rogers and Sons as well as other charities, including Teamwork.

The scheme helped win KCU the furniture recycling contract from Kettering Council.

KCU’s Paul Jackson said more than 2,000 children were living in poverty in the borough, and the initiative went a small way towards providing for those in most need.

“What we have created is a forum consisting of Kettering Borough Council, local charities and local businesses,” Mr Jackson said.

“Members of the forum will donate furniture or household goods for people that need it most.

“We believe this is a unique method of supporting vulnerable people. We are looking to expand this as widely as it can possibly go.

“As a concept, we believe it’s a good approach to have – a responsible approach, but also a cohesive approach. It’s the first time you see all of it working together.

“We are very conscious that people who come to us have nothing. We would be really uncomfortable selling stuff in shops that is beyond their reach.

“It’s getting back to the spirit of what a true charity should be. We want to encourage people to come forward, whether it’s giving storage space or donating furniture.”

Leona Mantle, tenancy services manager at Kettering Council, said: “It’s really important to work with charities and other organisations to make sure our tenants have every opportunity to improve their lives.”

Jen Hughes, community champion at Asda Kettering, said KCU had first refusal on most deleted stock, which primarily comprises fit-for-purpose goods which are no longer put on sale because of a change in branding. She added: “This is a worthy cause. We will continue to help them – this is not just a one-off.”

And Graham Marshall, operations director at Kettering charity Teamwork Trust, which provides education and work-based training for vulnerable adults, said his charity had offered free storage space to KCU for use as part of the initiative.