Editor’s Note: This is a copy of a letter being sent out by Mr Edwards of Bridport TLC to parish councils in the Bridport area. Will they be able and willing to provide support, or could it already be too late? This is the time of year when parish councils finalise their budgets and decide how much to charge their council tax payers. If no help is provided, it looks like Bridport TLC may soon have to close. More will follow on this story.
BRIDPORT TLC is at a crossroads. Our volunteer-led community recycling project is now in its fifth year, having implemented a wide range of reduce, re-use and recycle schemes aimed at supporting the wider Bridport population to ‘do their bit’ and collectively we have kept over 1,000 tons of materials out of Dorset landfill sites.
We consistently reach the top three in National Community Recycling Awards, are the present West Dorset District Council ‘Environmental Champions’, and only last month came runner-up in the Resource/Novelis Community Project awards.
We know that we (27 active volunteers) are an asset to local businesses and organisations as well as a growing army of individuals from all local parishes who bring in some of the additional recyclable materials that we collect and process – from plastic wrappings and waste cooking oil to milk bottle tops and electrical items – but now need to know if we have full community support before deciding whether to keep going. Contrary to popular belief the financial fundraising from waste materials is very small, particularly when concentrated on a local level as our project is.
To this end we are writing to all local Parish Councils asking for a) indication of support and b) contributions towards the not-insignificant costs of providing the services we provide. As well as local Councils we are seeking feedback and support from other community organisations, needing responses by March 1st to gauge whether we continue from April 1st. If your organisation can support us by pledging a grant/donation for the next financial year, or sponsor a specific area of cost (see below) we may yet continue to operate and will highlight your support on our website and elsewhere.
Our basic running costs are £18,750 per annum of which £15,000 is raised through membership of our collections scheme, donations and the small returns on recyclable materials. Since Jack & Ollies Crisp factory closed we can no longer raise funds through biodiesel sales but the shortfall over the last two years was met with a one-off grant from Grassroots Awards and we include a breakdown of our running costs attached.
DEFRA recently published research highlighting the major contribution that Third Sector Waste Organisations such as ours make to their communities, from productive volunteer placements and community ‘feel good’ factor to environmental and financial benefits to the wider community – showing that every pound invested invested in them is worth up to £5.89 to the local economy.
With the HWRC [Household Waste Recycling Centre] in South Street due to close this summer we need to know whether we can keep going or be swamped with materials we do not have the time or personnel to deal with. We could continue our work towards Zero Waste if we could meet the shortfall in our running costs and purchase a replacement collections vehicle as ours is on its last wheels. Understandably, having already contributed over 16,000 volunteer hours and nearly £18,000 of our own finances and fundraising since 2005, unless we know we have wider public support we feel our significant efforts and achievements are not worth continuing.
Having already introduced bicycle rickshaws, the gull-proof bin bag, a Scrapstore, an affordable waste reduction scheme for businesses, behavioural change promotions, community biodiesel production and plastics recycling to Bridport we are keen to develop more beneficial schemes including community composting and collection ‘hubs’ in surrounding villages. Please support the ‘do-ers’ because we can’t do it on our own anymore.
We would be most grateful if you could give this letter your full consideration.
Project Co-ordinator (Volunteer)
Annual Running Costs of Bridport TLC
- Rents & Water Rates (£1,211pcm), £14,532.00
- Rates (100% Rate relief WDDC), £ NIL
- Full Public Liability Insurance, £ 1,263.68
- Vehicle Insurance, £290.00
- Vehicle Tax & MOT, £260.00
- Electricity, £456.00
- Volunteer Expenses @ £25 pw, £1,300.00
- Baler Servicing & Twine, £166.00
- Office: Phone, Postage & Admin., £480.00
- TOTAL, £18,747.68