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Recycling heroes help care home go green

A group of people with learning difficulties have launched a new recycling service for a care home in Caernarfon.

As well as helping Bryn Seiont Newydd to be more eco-friendly, the aim of the innovative scheme organised by Arfon Community Link is to combat social isolation among the people they support.

The team come to the home every day to pick up recyclable plastic, tins and cardboard and takes them away to be recycled instead of them going to the local council’s incinerator.

They then return the collection boxes to the home ready to be filled up again for collection the following day.

According to Bryn Seiont Newydd manager Sandra Evans, the 71-bed dementia care home and Arfon Community Link are perfect partners because both worked to provide essential support for vulnerable people.

The benefits of the recycling project were twofold, she said. As well as enabling adults with learning difficulties to have community presence /working in partnership, it also helped them to reduce their carbon footprint.

Sandra said: “Until now all the waste products from this home have gone to the local authority incineration plant, which is not ideal in the light of the growing need for everyone on our planet to improve their green credentials. Now thanks to the Arfon Community Link service we are able to do just that.

“We firmly support moves to recycle whenever we can and are hopeful of eventually expanding this scheme to include other departments within the home. It is possible that some of our residents might also want to get involved, maybe in the sorting process and coming up with ideas for other eco-themed projects.”

A key member of the Arfon Community Link team is Sydney Mungo Pink, of Bethel, a young man with autism. His support workers say that the role has increased his self-esteem through participation and to fulfil his quality of life

Mathew Hopson who oversees the service for Arfon Community Link said: “Sydney enjoys the opportunity of this role and benefits greatly from doing an important job, it enhancing his social network and wellbeing.

“If it were not for this service and support, many people like Sydney who have learning difficulties/autism would not have opportunities in their daily lives. It is our mission to reverse this sense of isolation that they feel and to ensure each individual knows their contribution to society is greatly valued.”

Community Link manager Delyth Hughes added that the service operates various projects providing adults with learning difficulties with social roles in different environments.

She said: “Participants are usually referred to us through social services. We work with them all individually to find them social roles which match their particular skills.

“Our staff adhere to an ethos of Active support and positive behavioral support, it is a bespoke service ensuring individuals wellbeing and quality of life are met.

“The aim is to offer individuals a level of independence and empower them with a sense of responsibility which, through a lack of opportunity in modern society, they might not otherwise have been able to achieve.

“It is hugely satisfying to see our participants discovering their potential and undertaking roles they did not think were accessible to them.”

Debra Barlow, the head housekeeper at Bryn Seiont Newydd, said kitchen and laundry staff have already commented about how successful it is.

She said: “Any care home produces a significant amount of waste which can be recycled. You only have to look at the number of milk cartons we go through every single morning to know that.

“But before this all our waste was gathered in the main bins and only collected once a week by the council refuse service.

“Now our recyclable plastic, tins and cardboard is taken away on a daily basis thanks to the Arfon Community Link team. We easily fill up six large plastic storage tubs with recyclables for them to remove on every visit.”