Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew visited a unique Farsley social enterprise reusing waste materials in celebration of Small Business Saturday.
Mr Andrew, who this week attracted national attention for wearing a OneLove armband during England’s world cup game, visited Scrap – a social enterprise which has used social investment to expand into a larger shop and workshop space at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley.
Now the organisation has grown it diverts around 600 skips full of non-toxic business waste every year from landfill into arts materials for the local community.
As well as avoiding an estimated 100 tonnes of waste annually, it provides more than 50 local schools and up to 12,000 local people with affordable art, craft and play resources as well as providing training and workshops in how to use them creatively.
The visit was arranged by Big Society Capital – the independent financial institution set up to grow investment into enterprises with a social purpose.
Mr Andrew, new Minister for Civil Society, said: “Scrap is absolutely extraordinary. What’s really amazing is that this has so many benefits. All of this stuff would have been sent to landfill. How good for the environment that they are saving it!
“It’s a great resource for local community groups, schools and anyone who can make use of it. It is an excellent example of how social enterprise can make a real difference to our communities.”
Louise Lucas, founder at Scrap Centre of Creative Reuse & Learning, said: “We started Scrap 15 years ago in a small cold leaky unit, but we always had a vision for a larger organisation like this, employing people and running workshops and doing so much more for children, schools and the community.
“Now through social investment from the Key Fund we are doing it and are self-sustainable and don’t depend on funding which is fantastic.”
Matt Smith, Chief Executive at Key Fund, said: “Our investment has done exactly what we hoped. We believe relatively small amounts of money can make a huge difference helping organisations to grow, to develop trading activity and be more sustainable in financial terms but also to deliver even more impact in the communities they serve.
“So seeing this just reinforces the need for small investments like this as without that initial backing and support then it wouldn’t have happened.”
James Westhead, Head of Engagement at Big Society Capital, said: “Big Society capital was founded with unused dormant assets from banks and building societies so it is wonderful to see such an enterprising small business re-using that money to make such a big difference in the local community.
“We hope the government will allocate future dormant assets to continue to unlock this kind of entrepreneurial energy and positive social benefit in other communities.”