Progress Housing Group's Head of Property Services, Cath Mustafa shares with us how our Property Services teams have been recycling waste and raising money to support our women's refuges and homelessness services.

Most of you know that there are huge benefits to recycling waste. Reusing materials such as plastic and metal reduces our carbon footprint, but did you know that there's added social value in recycling?

The Property Services teams work closely with our waste management contractor, Recycling Lives, who, as well as supporting numerous charitable programmes through their recycling, also create skilled jobs in waste management within our communities. Working with Recycling Lives means we support and sustain life-changing charitable programmes, but there's even more.

Our Gas team recycles all our metal (such as boilers and cylinders) whenever we carry out a new heating installation, all of which carries a financial value (as well as an environmental value), and we are paid for all our waste metal.

During the many lockdowns last year, which meant the closure of waste management facilities, the team 'saved up' substantial amounts of metal, which generated a pay-out of over £3,000 when facilities finally reopened!

We thought we'd use this money to support our own supported housing schemes and contacted Liz (our Refuges Manager) and Tony (our Homeless Services Manager) to see if we could help. They were delighted with the donation and immediately identified requirements for their schemes to help our customers.

Liz was able to purchase new furniture for Clare House women's refuge (replacing drawers and wardrobes that were over 20 years old!), and Tony and his team have created welcome packs for new tenants who have arrived with nothing at our homelessness schemes, Foundations, The Bridge and Parker House. The welcome packs include tea bags, coffee, sugar, and biscuits, washing up liquid, toilet rolls and cleaning products. Here's what Liz and Tony had to say about the donations received for their schemes:

"We were made up when we were told about the money from our Property Services teams and how it had been generated from recycling old boiler parts. It has paid for new furniture in the bedrooms at Clare House, helping to make the rooms more welcoming and providing storage for the women and families who come to stay with us." - Liz, Refuge Manager

"We thought it would be nice if we could provide new residents with a welcome pack when they first arrive with us. Just as a way of making them feel welcomed and to get them started. The money from Property Services has helped us make up these packs, and we've already seen how appreciated people have been when they arrived with us, often without the basic requirements, we take for granted." – Tony, Homeless Services Manager

Our Gas team is delighted to have been able to help and is looking at other ways to use our recycling money to benefit our customers (and, of course, the planet ). Watch this space for further updates!

Here's what our Environmental and Sustainability Manager, Jonathan had to say about our #OneTeam approach to recycling: "This is a great initiative reducing our environmental impact and a perfect example of how we can improve both environmental and social value together.

"The environmental benefits of reducing and recycling waste include protecting our natural resources and reducing carbon emissions. Alongside recycling waste from the refurbishment of our homes, we are also currently looking at improving the recycling facilities within our office spaces.”