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Business & Economy

Daisy Chain launches new upcycling skills programme

A charity has launched a goods refurbishment project that will upskill young adults while reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.

Autism support charity Daisy Chain has founded an upcycling scheme to work on furniture, clothes and other items.

Bosses say goods that may not be suitable for immediate sale in the charity’s Stockton store will receive a new lease of life.

The move comes after the charity was given a £90,000 grant from Mercers’ Charitable Foundation to press ahead with the venture.

The two-year project will be led by Rhys Baker, a former art, design and photography teacher who will lead on wood and metalwork upcycling, and Kayleigh Capilla, an interior design graduate who has run her own craft business producing handmade personalised gifts.

Kayleigh will be upcycling soft furnishings and clothes, with Daisy Chain also appealing for volunteers skilled in practical crafts to work alongside young adults to impart their knowledge.

Furniture and items will be chosen from Daisy Chain’s store and warehouse, with upcycling work taking place at a repair shop at the charity’s Norton farm, near Stockton.

The charity’s move comes amid growing public awareness of the need to recycle goods to cut waste, with one survey showing 22 million pieces of furniture are thrown out every year in the UK, with nine million tons going to landfill.

Neeraj Sharma, Daisy Chain chief executive, said: “It is vitally important we discover innovative avenues to support young adults on the autistic spectrum who are at risk of chronic loneliness and isolation when they have no access to meaningful employment.

“We are extremely grateful to the Mercers’ Charitable Foundation for funding this project, which is both highly practical and multi-faceted, allowing us to upskill young adults while also reducing waste and producing unique sought-after items for sale.

“It also gives our students a real purpose by helping to prevent waste and increase care for the environment.”

Matt Roche, The Mercers’ Company’s grant programme manager, added: “The Mercers’ Charitable Foundation is absolutely delighted to be supporting this exciting project.

“Daisy Chain is a real part of the local community and this initiative will provide support towards meaningful employment for those who would otherwise find this extremely challenging.

“It is great that the project will have a positive impact on the environment and can be financially sustainable.

“Through our Church and Communities Programme, we aim to nurture aspirations and invest in opportunities to create positive change so that everyone has the potential to lead a fulfilling life.”