Villagers turn rubbish around in rural revival

A NEW business venture will be set up in Lynemouth, turning old rubbish into saleable goods.

The Art of Upcycling (TAU) scheme will be run by the Lynemouth Community Trust to divert valuable materials from landfill and use them to make new products that people will want to buy.

Funding for the initiative has been provided through a £30,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Village SOS scheme, which aims to inspire a rural revival and breathe new life into communities.

The Lynemouth project, which comes after nine months of work between the trust and designers, seeks to prevent usable goods going to landfill, create employment and volunteering opportunities and develop craft skills as both enterprise and social activities.

Trust Manager Andrew Gooding said: “We now have the blueprint to realise our ambition for TAU.

“The basic premise is that by engaging the services of vibrant designers, waste materials can be utilised to produce functional items with a high end design feel.

“By using waste materials we essentially have our material costs for free, indeed in some instances we will be paid for taking materials away, and this low input cost gives us increased scope to make the venture sustainable over the long term.

“We have a physical space that lends itself well to this kind of enterprise, and the management and marketing infrastructure in place through our other enterprises affords TAU a flying start in its quest for success.”

The first stage of the project will be to transform a large under-used hall into a stockroom, workshop, retail space and training centre.

At present, the room has no natural light so previous openings will be reinstated. A large amount of racking and bench space will also be required.

The trust plans to use the network of similar bodies across Northumberland to drop off and pick up goods, as well as develop online retail services.

In addition, Lynemouth Trust Library will be used for display, publicity and also marketing materials.

The Village SOS scheme awards grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 to rural communities with less than 3,000 residents to develop enterprising projects that address local needs or improve services. Ventures could range from community shops or pubs to energy and transport schemes, or food and craft projects.

Big Lottery Fund’s Head of the North East James Turner said: “We are delighted to announce funding for some really innovative projects, which are testament to the strength and creativity that exists in rural communities.

“I would urge people to explore this unique opportunity to get funding and support to start up a community run enterprise, which will revive their local area and help buck the trend of rural decline.”

For more information about the grants visit www.villagesos.org.uk