Merseyside charity on a mission to rescue, reuse and recycle unwanted items

A Sefton charity has spent the last year recruiting an army of volunteers to deliver workshops in clothes, furniture and plastics reuse to help stop materials from going to waste.

Fix Up, Look Sharp is the creation of Crosby-based Mencap Liverpool & Sefton, which last year was awarded £7990 by the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority & Veolia Community Fund 2022/23 for the reuse and repair project.

Since July last year, the charity has been holding regular upcycling workshops, ‘fix-up fairs’ and arts and craft sessions to help local people breathe new life into old furniture, unwanted textiles and discarded plastics. All of the workshops have been delivered at the Mencap Liverpool & Sefton Cottage on Mariners Road, Crosby.

Mencap Liverpool & Sefton is a local, independent charity that promotes equality for people with a learning disability, helping them to discover new opportunities, make new friends, and feel valued and safe in their community.

Nadine Jones, Progression Co-ordinator at Mencap Liverpool & Sefton, said: “Our Fix Up, Look Sharp project has been using regular workshops to give people the skills and opportunities to reimagine and repurpose clothes, plastics and furniture. We want to equip all our participants with the knowledge and inspiration to rescue, repair and repurpose items that could otherwise have been thrown away. I hope that we have helped people to understand the consequences of unnecessary waste so that everyone engaged with the project is motivated to consume more responsibly.”

According to a recent analysis* around 5% of household bins locally contained textiles such as clothes and shoes, a lot of which could still be used. The same report showed that plastic items made up 11.9% of Merseyside and Halton’s kerbside residual (i.e. black bin bag) waste.

Lesley Worswick, Chief Executive of Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority, said: “Our Community Fund projects are always full of inspirational ideas. Local organisations such as Mencap Liverpool & Sefton can deliver zero waste and sustainability messages and ideas in a way that people can relate to in their own lives, which is a benefit to the local environment.”

In total, Mencap Liverpool & Sefton are hoping that by the end of the project they will have delivered 10 litter picks in conjunction with local litter picking groups like Crosby Wombles and Friends of Crosby Beach, 10 ‘Fix Up Fairs’ (where participants can find new homes for items that they don’t want to keep), and numerous textiles, furniture and plastics workshops including workshops that upcycled old pallets into garden furniture and herb gardens.

From 21st to 23rd May there is a three-day revamp of all of their coffee shop furniture. Here, Mencap members together with a team of artists and volunteers from the local community will be joining celebrity upcycler Gemma Longworth (‘Find It, Fix It, Flog It’) to revamp the coffee shop. At all the events, participants have been learning how to make simple fixes and alterations so that items can be saved, reused and improved.

By the end of Fix Up, Look Sharp, it is estimated that almost two tonnes of material will be reused which would otherwise have gone to waste.

Nadine Jones continued: “Not only has this project brought together the community it has also given adults with learning disabilities the opportunity to build their confidence, connections, skill sets and discover hidden talents and interests! All while giving many items new life and legacies.”

For those who want to get involved with Mencap Liverpool & Sefton, they can email, or text FIXUP to 07554 410 555.