Cae Post vehicles have been a regular sight on the streets of Welshpool and north Powys for over ten years, as they go about their kerbside recycling collections, but it is all change at the end of March as the charity’s contract with the council ends.
As many people will already know, from 1st April Cae Post will no longer be handling household kerbside recycling in north Powys, after Powys County Council announced they would not be extending their contract.
While a number of employees directly involved in the kerbside collections will transfer to Powys County Council under TUPE Regulations, Cae Post has been left in the unfortunate position of having to make 17 other people redundant.
Inevitably, the loss of the contract has caused a period of disturbance at the charity and social enterprise as friends and colleagues have been forced to say goodbye, but Cae Post’s Trustees and management are working hard to develop new services and new opportunities for the 30 year old charity and social enterprise.
“There is no denying that the termination of the Council contract has caused Cae Post difficulties,” explains John Harrington, Chair of the Cae Post Board of Trustees. “It is hard for any organisation when redundancies are required, but what I think is saddest is that Cae Post will no longer be able to provide as many jobs and volunteering opportunities for disadvantaged people in our community.
“Many of those we support have learning disabilities or had been struggling to find work and get their life back on track before they came to us. We know, from what they have told us, just what a difference Cae Post has made to them.
“As a charity and social enterprise, Cae Post’s mission is to tackle disadvantage and create opportunity through environmental initiatives, and the kerbside recycling contract was one of the main ways we did this. However, as anyone in business knows, nothing stays the same, and we are facing the future with energy and enthusiasm. We remain committed to waste recycling and reuse as a vital activity for sustainable business.”
Cae Post now offers a full trade waste collection service across most of Powys and north Shropshire and hopes to develop this side of its business further. Cae Post also offers contract packing and “depackaging”, which involves taking apart old and redundant stock in order to reuse or recycle the components.
Confidential shredding is another growth area for the charity, especially at this time of year as companies reach the end of their financial year and need to dispose of documents securely.
“One of the most exciting developments for Cae Post at the moment,” explains John Harrington, “is the launch of recycled 3D printer filament. We have teamed up with Dutch based Refil, leaders in sustainable product development, to launch recycled 3D printer filament in the UK as their exclusive distributor.
“While the market for 3D printers is currently small, it is one of the world’s fastest growing technologies and is being used to create all sorts of three dimensional objects out of plastic. Refil recycled 3D printer filament is made using old car dashboards and PET bottles and helps to stop some of these plastics ending up in landfill, or worse, in the sea.”
Cae Post is committed to remaining in Powys. The base of its activities has been in Trewern for nearly 20 years and maintaining this base is a key part of its future plans.
“Presently we are in negotiation with Powys County Council, the owners of the building, for an orderly transfer if possible through a Community Asset Transfer. We are sure that we bring many benefits to the community through our work and that this should be taken into account when PCC consider this matter,” says John Harrington
“After 30 years, this really is a new beginning for us,” concludes John. “As a charity and social enterprise, we have had to adapt and change many times over the decades, and this time is no different. We are excited about the future and we believe that, as a well known and respected local organisation, we are ideally placed to build on what we have achieved so far. Above all, we hope local people and local businesses will continue to support us.”