Jean saw for herself how projects in the capital are actively promoting ‘reuse’ while providing training and employment opportunities to local people.
The first destination was the ‘REWORK’ project in Wandsworth. Here, furniture and household appliances that otherwise would have been scrapped, broken down for recycling, or sent to landfill are returned to full working order and given a second useful life.
The workshops employ and train young people, many of whom have previously been long-term unemployed. They receive training in electrical engineering and maintenance and also furniture restoration and up-cycling. The refurbished electrical goods and furniture are then sold on to local charity retailers and to the public at affordable prices.
Next, Jean travelled to Camberwell, where she was introduced to an initiative known as ‘The Loop’.
Set up in shipping container, a redundant space has been transformed into reuse hub for the collection, refurbishment and redistribution of household items. The project aims to reduce fly-tipping, promote local reuse and improve the local environment while also offering training, employment and volunteering opportunities to local residents. More info at: www.theloops.london
All the projects have been developed by social and environmental regeneration charity Groundwork London.
Jean has long been an advocate of green jobs and green skills both in Europe and in the UK. She said of the projects she visited: “Green issues have always been about both creating new jobs and skills opportunities for people whilst improving the environment. I’m delighted to be visiting some of Groundwork’s excellent EU-funded projects in London today, which are providing jobs and training to Londoners as well as addressing big environmental problems – like reducing waste to landfill, pollution and resource efficiency – at the local level.
“As Green Member of the European Parliament for London I’ve argued that European funding should be used to benefit London and focus on green issues, so it’s particularly positive to see this in action.”
Jean is a member of the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs committee, and works on the issue of green jobs and skills. Last year she wrote the European Parliament report on green employment, which argues for greater EU focus on the social and economic benefits of the green agenda.