ReUsers reunites City Freedom Regiment veterans

By on 06/11/2013 in Cllr McKay, News

Birmingham Forces veterans were reunited today to mark the discovery of the original framed plaque commemorating the award of the Freedom of the City of Birmingham to their regiment, more than 47 years on from the event.

The Freedom of Entry to the City of Birmingham was conferred upon the 268th Warwickshire Field Regiment R.A (T.A) on 5th April, 1966.  Staff at The ReUsers, the award-winning new social enterprise that’s changing the way that people in Birmingham dispose of their unwanted reusable  items, discovered the framed plaque containing the official citation when examining donated items earlier this year, and immediately realised its significance. The plaque will now be handed over to the council’s Libraries Archives service.

The veterans, some of whom marched through the city on the day, were at The ReUsers  earlier today to see the plaque handed over.

Veteran Gerry Brien, said: “I was Guard Commander on duty on the day of the march of the Regiment through the city. I can remember the day vividly and how proud we all felt to receive this honour from the city, and I will be very pleased to see this memento of the event restored to the city’s care.”

The ReUsers project was formed from a partnership between the council, Veolia Environmental Services and employment and skills charity The Jericho Foundation. Located adjacent to Birmingham City Council’s 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.

Richard Craythorn, ReUsers Project Manager, said: “We have had literally thousands of items brought in to us since the project opened in February, but finding this plaque was the high point. It’s wonderful that we can bring some veterans from the original regiment together to mark its re-discovery, especially in the week leading up to Remembrance Day; it is fitting that Aiden Grimes (the staff member who found the plaque) is himself now in the forces.”

Councillor James McKay, Birmingham City Council cabinet member for a green, safe and smart city, said:” “It’s great that this item has been saved for the city. The ReUsers project has proved to be very successful in helping people to recycle and reuse their unwanted items, with thousands of people visiting the site each week. The Jericho Foundation have also created vital jobs and training opportunities. ”

The ReUsers project delivers 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: “Veolia have been closely involved with the work of The Reusers project – they are an excellent example of how we work with and support the voluntary sector and we have been delighted to see the success of the scheme, and the benefits it has brought to the local environment. The discovery of the plaque also shows the links with the community which Veolia encourages.”


Notes to editors:

  • 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 or visit
  • Its opening hours are: Tues-Sun 8am-4pm   
  • The Reusers project was awarded 'Best ReUse Scheme' at the Birmingham City Council Recycling Awards 2013
  • 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

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