Last month the Helensville Enterprises Trust celebrated its first anniversary of running the Helensville Community Recycling Centre, which is owned by Auckland Council.
The Trust has achieved some big milestones in that year.
These include diverting 70 per cent of material from landfill and the creation of eight part-time jobs.
Big things from clever ideas
It has also seen the start of some clever waste minimisation initiatives, such as the Repair Shed, which provides a repair service for broken bikes, furniture and electrical goods for a gold coin donation.
Andrew Connolly, Helensville Enterprises Trust Chairman, in its first year the trust had focused on bringing local businesses on board with commercial recycling, providing jobs and training opportunities for the long-term unemployed and intellectually disabled, and onsite education.
“We’ve done amazing stuff – but we haven’t done it alone,” says Andrew, who credits passionate staff and volunteers, the local community and the Trust’s partners with helping the centre achieve success.
While the targets are impressive, the Trust considers it equally important to provide a place where the whole community can gather, share and learn.
“I know people who take their children to the centre every Saturday because it’s a genuinely cool place to go."
"They come in to see what’s new in the shop, what upcycling projects have been created and then go home to recreate these.”
A flourishing facility
Bronwyn Alexander, one of the original founders, says in its ten years of operation the centre has flourished from its humble beginnings in a shipping container.
“It was very primitive when we started; in fact we only opened for four hours on a Saturday. Slowly – very slowly – we grew and finally, after about ten years, we had some infrastructure. Once that was in place we grew very quickly,” she says.
Rodney Local Board Chairperson Brenda Steele says it has been a pleasure to watch the Trust blossom.
“We have supported the Helensville Enterprises Trust because it is an outstanding example of how powerful a grassroots initiative can be. I don’t think we should ever underestimate the importance of grass roots activity in our communities,” she says.
The Helensville Community Recycling Centre is located on Mill Rd (next to Mitre 10) and is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8-4pm.
The Repair Shed is open on Saturdays. Phone 022 430 3622.