Toogoodtowaste, one of the largest Big Lottery and Welsh Government funded projects in South Wales was declared officially open on Wednesday 3rd of July, with Ruth Jones attending the event and lending her support.
Ruth Jones star of Stella and Gavin and Stacey was one of the highlights of the day. With demonstrations and workshops, live music provided by GTFM, opportunities to buy pre-owned items and the chance to speak with past volunteers who have benefited from the training and work-based learning that is provided by toogoodtowaste.
Ruth Jones said: “I’m delighted to have been invited along to this event to celebrate with such a great group of people! The work done here by toogoodtowaste is so creative! It is more than just recycling furniture and running Charity shops. All of the services rely upon the help given by the team of over 50 volunteers. These volunteers are supervised and supported by the small group of 15 paid staff who provide them with respect, training and care. I have met a number of people here today who have benefitted from this training and support, who have gone on to paid employment. Providing our young people with the opportunity to gain work-skills is just so important and as a result of the funding toogoodtowaste has received from the Big Lottery fund & Welsh Government, this impressive building has been purchased and a new extension built. The new extension provides a new training room, canteen and offices, I could feel the pride amongst the volunteers and staff as they showed me around. They are just so excited to be able to help more people and I am delighted to have been with them today to help raise awareness of the great work they do.”
Back in 2011 toogoodtowaste received funding from the Big Lottery Fund and Welsh Government as part of the Community Asset Transfer programme, which enabled them to purchase and extend their Ynyshir branch. Four new local employment opportunities were also created.
Lynda Davies, Chief Executive Officer stated; “I feel so proud of all we have received to date. Ownership of this building gives us a more secure long-term financial future providing residents of Rhondda Cynon Taff with a community run re-use & recycling facility, that offers work-based learning and training, as well as helping local people in need. In the past 6 months, ten of our volunteers have gone on to paid employment and we have provided 92 families in need, with free furniture items. As more people become aware of our services, we expect to see a dramatic increase in the volume of goods offered to us and if we are to re-cycle and re-use more of the items available, we will need to spread our charity shops into other locations within Rhondda Cynon Taff. We also hope to create more paid employment opportunities and increase partnership working with other organisations. So our journey is not over yet!
I am extremely grateful to the many funders, supporters and friends especially our team of staff and volunteers, for their trust and support, and for sharing our vision that community regeneration, through waste minimisation is toogoodtowaste.”
Shaun England, General Manger said, “Having spent many years as a Manager in a high value retail environment, I cannot recall a time when I have felt so enthusiastic about how and why a service is needed. Managing the re-development of this building whilst continuing to provide our services has only been possible with the support of each and every member of our team. I wish to thank them and acknowledge their efforts. Each of us is committed to improving our services, whether it is through training, extra resources or through shear hard work, we always aim to get the job done and are very proud of what we have achieved together. ”
Ruth Jones was a big hit with the customers and volunteers at the event and everyone enjoyed meeting Ruth. Annette Carson, customer service volunteer at toogoodtowaste said, “it was great to get to meet Ruth Jones and to receive my personalised toogoodtowaste team mug, it’s lovely to feel appreciated.”