The Community Recycling Project (CRP) is a church lead outreach project which has been running since 2012.
It was set up initially to raise funds to support the work of a debt counsellor in the Midlothian area but has since extended its reach in support of other local causes.
The project is staffed by around 26 volunteers who nearly all stay locally.
The volunteers are multi-generational and comprise of those who have retired, students, people undertaking therapeutic work and those in full time work who give of their leisure time to serve.
There is a mixture of Church members and those who are not. The following table is an abbreviated summary of the aims and vision of the project.
Vision - Love in Action
Recognising God’s compassion for the poor, we commit ourselves to show Christian love in action locally.
To develop and run a Community Project to provide a café and the recycling of essential goods (such as clothing and small household items) to people at affordable prices and to generate funds for community projects*
Scope and Benefit of Activities
The once weekly sale/café has an average of 50 – 60 visitors. People meet one another and share time together. There are some distinct groups of people who benefit from this project and these are: parents who call in after dropping their children into school, more senior members of the community who often live alone and call in for some chat and fellowship; the residents from Newbyres care home who are brought in with their carers and/or family members. Those who attend are often socially isolated and by attending and/or volunteering this project meets an important need for connection and relationship. The team of volunteers are always available to take time to listen, support and encourage customers and each other. On average funds raised (approx. £14,000 per year) are used to support local organisations*.
Scope for Growth
It is anticipated that, should we be successful in bringing the Hilltop Community Project to fruition, we would be able to provide this service more than once per week. At present all goods are stored in two thirty-foot containers and these require to be emptied and refilled every week. Increased space would facilitate a more efficient and effective operation which could more readily be sustained on more than a single day in the week.
It is also envisaged that a designated purpose-built café area would be operational more frequently thus increasing the time available to provide fellowship to local residents and offering an environment conducive to community engagement and the sign-posting of available services. We currently provide space alongside us on a Tuesday morning for other local projects who provide free school uniforms and information sessions giving free advice and guidance on a range of subjects such as well- being, smoking
cessation, benefits information etc. This has been a successful model which we would like to extend to respond to any unmet need and in this regard we would look to develop a referral system with local NHS partners, Social Work and Midlothian Foodbank. In the event that the project was able to grow as
envisaged it may be that there would be an opportunity for paid employment to be made available.