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New social enterprise promises to do ‘good with wood’ in Wolverhampton

A new community wood recycling business is being launched in Wolverhampton that will give training, volunteering and employment opportunities for up to 30 people every year.

Wood Saints, which is the latest venture from All Saints Action Network (ASAN), is looking to give unwanted wood heading for landfill a new lease of life by creating new products from it or recycling it into useable material, such as kindling and pulp.

Backed by a £220,000 grant from the Big Lottery’s Power to Change Initiative, the social enterprise is now inviting construction firms, distribution specialists and manufacturers in the Black Country and Shropshire to save money and boost their social responsibility by signing up to its collection service.

Any wood that could end up in a skip, from pallets and scaffolding boards to off cuts and floorboards, is wanted and will be brought back to the organisation’s Wood Depot in Dixon Street, All Saints.

This 10,000 sq ft facility is currently being transformed from an empty industrial unit into an oasis of creativity and inspiration that will house a wood yard, workshop and retail store for selling the recycled products and other gifts from local craftspeople.

“Wood Saints is an innovative way of saving valuable resources whilst creating employment and training opportunities for local people in the All Saints community,” explained Iftikar Karim, Wood Saints Recycling Manager.

“We offer a competitive wood collection service for construction sites, businesses and householders. All the wood will be sorted at our Dixon Street depot where volunteers can get involved in activities, such as collecting wood with our drivers, preparing timber for sale, working in our retail shop or making products and furniture in our wood workshop.”

He continued: “People of all ages and backgrounds can volunteer. We will give them training and also pay for them to take their CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card if necessary. It could potentially be the first step on the ladder back into employment.

“We are also looking for local businesses to get behind us. This could be donating materials, fundraising, mentoring or some employee volunteering projects.”

Wood Saints will hold an official launch event on March 20th, when it will open its doors to the public and business community so they can look around the facility, explore its services and meet some of the main people behind it.

No-nonsense furniture upcycler Jay Blades, former co-founder of award-winning social enterprise Out of the Dark and a regular on the BBC’s Money for Nothing programme, will be the guest of honour and will highlight the importance of community ventures in creating training, volunteering and employment opportunities.

Mick Moreton, Recycling Supervisor, concluded: “It has been a very hectic six months getting everything ready, but we are now looking forward to the official opening and welcoming customers and businesses to the Wood Depot.

“Wood Saints works on so many fronts…we are making an environmental difference, we are making a social difference and we will hopefully be making a financial difference to all the firms that plan to use us.”

He concluded: “All the profits we make will be reinvested into making All Saints a better place to live and work.”

For more information visit www.woodsaints.com or follow @WoodSaints on Twitter and Facebook.