A Mid and East Antrim recycling scheme is helping to build schools, a church and health clinic in West Africa.
Unwanted household items which would otherwise have been sent to landfill are helping to fund four schools, a church and a health clinic in Burkina Faso.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s partnership with Bridge of Hope, a social enterprise with centres in Portglenone and Ahoghill, has resulted in the diverting of tonnes of material from landfill while also improving the lives of people in Burkina Faso.
A landlocked country of around 274,200 square kilometres, Burkina Faso is a poor country even by West African standards, and has suffered from recurring droughts and military coups.
Burkina Faso, which means “land of honest men”, has faced domestic and global concern over the state of its economy and human rights over the years.
The previously unwanted items from Mid and East Antrim have generated an income stream of more than £100,000 for humanitarian relief work since the scheme was set up and saved thousands of pounds of local ratepayers’ money.
The initiative also offers items for sale at a low cost to residents of Mid and East Antrim.
Mid and East Antrim’s Mayor, Councillor Paul Reid, recently visited Bridge of Hope’s Portglenone base and confirmed he was hugely impressed by the ongoing work.
Mayor Reid said: “Back in 2015 a deal was agreed to divert material from Householder Recycling Centres in the borough to Bridge of Hope.
“The organisation is headed up by Norman Worthington, who is a church pastor within the local community.
“Our staff at the recycling centres identify and set aside material which is in a condition good enough to be considered for re-use.
“Bridge of Hope undertake regular collections and transport these items to their base in Portglenone.
“There they are sorted, repairs carried out if needed and resold to the public through shops manned by volunteers.
“It was a privilege to meet with the volunteers and Norman, and I commend them for their work on this remarkable project which is having such a positive effect on the lives of people thousands of miles from home,” said Councillor Reid.
Bridge of Hope diverted 38 tonnes of material in 2015/16 and 46 tonnes last year.
The tonnage diverted by Bridge of Hope has realised savings to Council of more than £8,400 to date. As a result of the partnership, three primary schools, one secondary school, a church and a health clinic are being provided to people in Burkina Faso.