The annual awards run by electricity transmission company National Grid reward the best new ideas in sustainability – and Stafford’s £5000 prize will be presented at a ceremony in London on January 28th.
The awards scheme helps local authorities to encourage sustainable development in their communities by offering prizes of up to £5000 for innovative projects run in partnership with community groups. National Grid organises the scheme in partnership with the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) and sustainable development charity Forum for the Future. This year there were 50 entries.
Stafford’s recycling project will be a stepping stone back into work for people with mental health problems. They will be employed to renovate bikes discarded at the council’s household waste site or donated by local people. New-look bikes will be available on loan or at low cost to people facing financial difficulties, students and companies setting up staff cycle pools.
The project, supported by other local organisations, aims to recycle 250 bikes in its first year, reduce waste and promote cycling as good for health and the environment. The initiative will cost around £290 000 over five years and external funding is being sought to meet these costs. Income will be generated from the sale of bikes and from art and craft products created from bike bits.
Karen Davies, the council’s Local Agenda 21 co-ordinator, said: "[The project] will bring a range of benefits which include mental health support, raising the profile of cycling, promoting recycling and waste minimisation, as well as creating a sustainable business enterprise."