ReUsers have a whale of a time in Sutton Coldfield

By on 10/09/2013 in Cllr McKay, News

A new re-use focused social enterprise is proving a hit with thrifty bargain-hunters, upcyclers and shabby chic-ers, in Sutton Coldfield.

The ReUsers opened in February this year and was an instant hit with the communities who use the centre, with around 1,000 people each week visiting the shop.

In fact, after just seven months of opening The ReUsers and their patrons have saved 35 tonnes of re-useable items from landfill or incineration – equivalent to the weight of 35 elephants or a female humpback whale.

Richard Beard (Chief Exec of the Jericho Foundation) and Cllr James McKay (Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City) at the launch of the ReUsers

The ReUsers are managed by employment and skills charity The Jericho Foundation adjacent to the Household Recycling Centre in Norris Way, Sutton Coldfield. It sells items donated by Birmingham citizens that are re-usable or deemed too good to throw away, that previously would have been sent to the HRC for disposal.

The project has created four new full-time jobs and three part-time jobs, and three apprentices have also been taken on, working towards an NVQ in retail and customer services, as well as four part-time volunteers.

With a stock of about 100 tonnes at any one time, all diverted from landfill or incineration, the catalogue of items for sale is a shoppers delight and all set within a stunning Victorian property previously neglected and on the brink of dilapidation.

The Aladdin’s Cave of rescued and restored items for sale includes furniture, clothing, antiques, collectables, retro goodies, bric-a-brac, framed artworks and prints, tools, architectural salvage, toys, games, exercise equipment, camping outdoor and leisure items, bicycles (made roadworthy by on-site partner bike2life) and creatively upcycled goods by artist-in-residence Helen Gallimore of ‘Get Sneaky’ who are also a partner of The ReUsers.

Richard Craythorn, ReUsers Project Manager, said: “The ReUsers have been extremely well received by the local community.

“The feedback we get suggests that it’s a long overdue project and a welcome return to the make and mend mentality we seem to have lost as a nation in recent years.

“Many people can’t believe the quality or quantity of  items we save from landfill. Our premises are large and full but what is displayed is just a small fraction of what we throw away as a nation, that is perfectly re-useable.

“Seeing this under one roof often overwhelms our customers into understanding just how wasteful we can all be. On the plus side for our customers, the volume of items we have donated means we have to keep the stock moving or the shop will burst.

“This makes for some very attractive deals to be had, plus we want you to leave with a bargain so that you come back to shop here again and also tell your friends about us.”

Cllr James McKay, Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City said: “Birmingham is committed to becoming a leading green city, and recycling is a vital element of that, so I am delighted that the ReUsers project is proving so successful in helping people to recycle and reuse their unwanted items.

“The Jericho Foundation have also created vital jobs and training opportunities. I would urge everyone to get along the centre, take their re-useables and grab a bargain.”

The project was formed from a partnership between the council, Veolia Environmental Services and Jericho to deliver a sustainable method of minimising waste, building communities, and providing training and employment opportunities. This builds on the already high recycling rate of 70 per cent at the Norris Way Household Recycling Centre.

Mark Heesom, General Manager of Veolia in Birmingham said: “I am delighted that Veolia have helped to deliver this scheme as it is a clear win for the environment, our users, customers and many people who will benefit from the training opportunities presented. This demonstrates how we work with and support the voluntary sector and look forward to the scheme going from strength to strength.”

The address for public access is The ReUsers, Norris Way, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, B75 7BB. Anyone interested in finding out more can call 0121 329 2797 of visit


Notes to editors

1. Items that can be donated at The ReUsers include:

-    Bicycles and ride-ons
-    Electrical goods
-    Toys and games
-    Books
-    Pottery
-    Bric-a-brac
-    Pictures
-    Furniture
-    Tools
-    General household/garden goods/objects
-    Sports equipment
-    Building and landscaping reclamation.

2. Items that cannot be accepted include:

– Fuels, chemicals, Gas cannisters and gas fueled appliances.
– Fridges or Freezers
– Computer printers
– Weapons, ammunition or fireworks.
– Batteries
– Double beds and suits only by prior arrangement and in clean condition, bearing its fire safe labels.
– Duvets, pillows.
– Children's car seats.
– Sometimes we have to refuse books due to the sheer volume we have.
– Video players and cassettes
– Large and heavy televisions.
– Old carpets (we can accept room sized off cuts of new carpet).

3. The Jericho Foundation is a registered charity (number 1037084) and a company limited by guarantee (number 2845852). It has offices in Birmingham and employs around 50 full and part time staff.

Its mission is to work with disadvantaged individuals and help them overcome barriers and become fulfilled, skilled and employed.

The foundation runs a broad range of outreach, training and employment related programmes which are funded via a combination of public sector contracts and grants from grant making trusts, corporate donors and individuals.

It helps people overcome their barriers by providing a combination of advice, guidance, training and supported work experience which is tailored to each individual's specific needs.

This will include programmes that help build social skills, increase levels of confidence, self-esteem and motivation as well as developing literacy, numeracy, technical and work related skills.

Over 50 per cent of clients move into sustainable employment or full time training when they leave Jericho.

The ReUsers is Jericho's eighth social enterprise. The other seven offer goods and services in the following areas: landscaping and grounds maintenance, construction, printing, catering, cleaning, retail, and recycling. Jericho aims to change lives through sustainable enterprise.

For more media information contact Steve McCarthy on 303 3367

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