Mersey community groups clinch £165,000 funding to help reduce waste

Sixteen community groups have been awarded a share of £165,000 to help the residents of Liverpool City Region reduce, reuse and recycle more.

The money has come from the Zero Waste Community Fund 2024/25, which supports local waste prevention, reuse and recycling initiatives. The Fund is arranged by Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority (MRWA) and Veolia.

Earlier this year the organisations had to bid for the funding which will give them the financial support to deliver waste-reducing behavioural change projects across the region.

Programmes include schools waste workshops, a repair cafe, cookery lessons to reduce food waste, clothes and textiles upcycling, a children’s toy lending library, restoration of unwanted furniture, food growing and community composting, amongst other things.

Chief Executive of Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA), Lesley Worswick, said: “The Community Fund helps groups to become environmental stewards, creating a healthier place for everyone. Thankfully, our society is increasingly recognising the value in resources – they’re not just disposable items.

“The impressive ideas this year from local organisations are truly inspiring, and with 56 applications, the selection process was tough. Many past projects funded by the Community Fund have lasting benefits. They not only leave a positive legacy, but also continue to influence participants’ habits through ongoing activities.

“I wish all projects the best and look forward to seeing the impact they have.”

Project applications had to tackle one or more of the five priority household waste materials which have been identified by MRWA as key, namely Food, Furniture, Electricals, Plastics and Textiles. An analysis* of waste in the Liverpool City Region highlighted that a greater amount of these materials could be reused or recycled.

One project to previously clinch funding is the British Dietetic Association (BDA) who have been running food waste reduction and cookery skills programmes thanks to the Community Fund.

Suzanne Mitchell of the BDA said: “The opportunity to support a local community was a really powerful idea. We hope we’ve inspired households to think about new ways to save money by reducing the amount of food they throw away and growing their own produce.”

The successful organisations have got until March 2025 to deliver their projects.


The successful projects:

Organisation and ProjectMaterial focusProject Summary
British Dietetic Association   Waste Warriors  FoodThis project will train up 17 ‘Leaders’ to support 12 Cooking Clubs. The programme will engage with 2,000 people face to face and will produce e-learning resources to prevent food wastage and food packaging, across home, school and public events. There will be resources, equipment and grants for clubs to deliver sessions focussing on cookery, growing and composting.  
Centre63   Centre63 Community Food & Recycle HubFood, Textiles and FurnitureCentre 63 will provide pantry use and food waste prevention training, as well as composting and growing food. They will also set up a sustainable shopping by Zero Waste lifestyle store, offering loose dry goods, organic options and plastic-free groceries on a not-for-profit basis. Monthly cooking sessions will be provided on how to eat healthily on a budget. Clothing swaps and upcycling/furniture restoration will also make up the project.  
Dovecot and Princess Drive Community Association   The Drive Repair CafeWEEE (electrical waste) & TextilesA local repair café will host experts including seamstress, electrician, clock repairer, cobbler and a joiner who will fix items free of charge.    
Friends of South Park   Compost Creators!FoodThis food growing and composting project will see household kitchen/food waste taken to a local park for composting. Food skills and cooking sessions will be delivered to local residents, who will also take part in food gleaning and seed saving.    
Gateway Collective   Gateway Craft CafeTextiles15 textiles repair and upcycling workshops supported by the ‘sew by lovely sisters’, held every two weeks termtime. Online access also available for further participants. Links to school and school inclusive hub for holiday children’s groups.  
The Let’s Cook Project   Let’s Cook More to Waste Less!FoodLet’s Cook will deliver cooking and food waste demonstrations in partnership with FareShare Community Food Members. A one day conference will launch the project with 100 attendees representing 50 engaged CFM clubs.  
Liverpool Lighthouse   Sew & Co  TextilesThe Anfield-based charity provides a sewing group that teaches sewing skills, including a focus on re-fashioning old worn and damaged clothes into new items and mending items, providing an alternative to ‘fast fashion’.    
Liverpool World Centre   The Great Schools Climate AssemblyEducationThis project will amplify young people’s voices on issues around waste, energy consumption and living sustainably, and bring them together with key local, regional and national stakeholders through the use of the Citizens Assembly model. Young people (aged 11- 18) taking part in the project will become ambassadors for change within their school.  
Mencap Liverpool and Sefton   Mencap Cottage – The Big Garden RevampFood, Furniture, TextilesWorking with people who have learning difficulties and people with mental health needs, Mencap Liverpool & Sefton will deliver Swap Shops, cookery and food waste reduction classes, as well as a Grow your own swap shops and a community garden upgrade using recycled and repurposed materials.  
North Birkenhead Development Trust   RefreshFurniture‘Refresh’ is a project that aims to establish a weekly drop-in upcycling session at the St James Centre on Laird Street. It will be a dedicated space for community members to learn new skills by upcycling furniture, either by bringing their own items, or utilising donated furniture.  
The Reader   Recalled to LifeFurnitureThe charity based in Calderstones Park will receive unwanted and donated furniture for restoration, whilst training and giving volunteers key upcycling skills and knowledge.    
Rule of Threes Arts Ltd   Rule of ThreesFood & WEEE (electrical waste)This food waste-based project will offer a kitchen equipment lending library, preserving jars, fruit press, cake tins and other food-saving items. It will also glean food from their community garden and offer practical skills in preparing, preserving, pickling, fermenting etc.  
Sustainable Starts CIC   Sustainable Starts Toy LibraryTextiles & ToysSustainable Starts CIC works with families to support and inspire them toward a more sustainable family life. We do this through Liverpool Cloth Nappy Library, children’s clothes swaps and a playgroup where families can explore sustainability with their children. The funding will be used to expand the lending Library with toys and baby items.  
Vibe Charitable Incorporated Organisation   Feed the NeedFoodVibe will distribute shopping lists, meal planning sheets and reusable containers as physical ways to support people to make improvements by careful planning to reduce overspending/shopping and utilising leftovers. The project will also produce an educational video of food saving and food challenges.  
Wirral Change   Second Stitch and Zero Waste PlateFood & TextilesSecond Stitch is about fixing, reusing, and transforming old clothes to fight against wasting fabrics. Wirral Change will also teach people from local ethnic minority communities how to make their clothes last longer and even turn them into something new through fun workshops.  
Wirral Environmental Network   Wirral Clothes Swap CafesTextilesWirral Environmental Network (WEN), Indigo Venue and Wirral community groups and organisations will reduce waste and promote sustainability through community-driven Clothes Swap Cafés at various locations across the Wirral. The Clothes Swap Cafes will be interspersed with workshops and activities focused on sustainable fashion and reuse.  

*Statistic from Merseyside and Halton Waste Composition Analysis 2021/22