Merseyside community project refashions recycling through arts and crafts
A community scheme in Merseyside, Northwood CommuniTree 4aRts, is encouraging residents to get engaged in recycling by using creative arts and crafts.
Organised by Faiths4Change in collaboration with the Northwood Community Centre, the project aims to improve the area’s low levels of recycling, by creating a clear and consistent behavioural change through creativity.
Liz Atherton, Arts and Wellbeing Project Co-ordinator at Faiths4Change, said: “By bringing together old and young, groups, schools, and organisations from across Northwood we can all create a really positive environmental noise about, with and for the area. There is a wonderful community spirit here and you see it every day at the Community Centre. Ultimately the project is about helping to build community spirit, break down barriers and provide educational benefits to enable all to improve the environment for future generations in Northwood.”
In 2017, a £115,000 waste prevention fund was opened up to Merseyside community groups, from the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) and Veolia Community Fund 2018/19, which was set up to help support local re-use and recycling projects. CommuniTree 4aRts was one of the 14 community groups to receive some of this green funding and was granted £7,000 in May 2018, helping to bolster its public profile.
With this financial backing, the project hopes to achieve a number of targets before its closure in March 2019:
- Re-use or recycle 6.7 tonnes of materials (including textiles, plastics and bulky family items such as cots and prams);
- Hold six swap shops for textiles, bulky items and toys;
- Engage with eight schools for Bags2School clothing collections;
- Hold 12 clothing repair clinics;
- Host 64 sewing and craft workshops to create ‘textile tree banners’; and
- Deliver recycling guides directly to 500 households
When the project finishes, it hopes to have produced the Northwood CommuniTree Resource exhibition. This will be primarily made up of a 3D CommuniTree sculpture made of recycled plastic bottles and a canopy made from recycled materials, featuring items created by local residents at the workshops.
Lou Smith, a local resident who has got involved with the scheme, said: “I’ve been getting involved in the sewing classes, the Pop up Boutiques and making art work for the centre. There’s a really nice, friendly atmosphere and it’s been great to dust off the sewing skills I haven’t used for a few years. You just hope that it does have an effect and people in the area will start recycling more – I’m sure they will. It’s a great community and people just need the right information to help them do what they need to do.”
12 volunteer positions have also been created with the Northwood Community Centre. Faiths4Change hopes that these volunteers will then be able to spread the message of recycling amongst friends and family.
Councillor Tony Concepcion, Chairperson of MRWA, said: “The best Community Fund projects are those that help deliver recycling and waste resource messages to local communities – using groups’ expertise and on-the-ground knowledge of particular areas and the people who live there. The work Faiths4Change and the Northwood Community Centre are doing will see a positive effect on recycling levels.”
You can find out more about how to get involved with Northwood’s creative project on the Faiths4Change website.