A Motherwell social enterprise company which helps people back into employment is celebrating after being shortlisted for a prestigious recycling award.
LAMH Recycle Ltd was the only Scottish company to reach the final four at the 2017 Awards for Excellence in Recycling & Waste Management.
The company, which is a registered charity, was competing against the likes of Biffa and major council recycling facilities in the Collections Crew of the Year category.
Anita Boyle, chief executive officer, said: “We set up in 1999 as a subsidiary of Lanarkshire Association of Mental Health (LAMH) but in 2007 we became a standalone social enterprise company.
“LAMH is about providing support for people.
“It may sound strange but we are about removing support and moving people to a more independent way of life through gaining employment.”
The charity gets about a fifth of its funding from the Big Lottery Fund, so its commercial arm is an important part of its work.
It operates three vans which collect paper, cardboard, cans, and electrical equipment, such as computers, which volunteers fix up to re-sell.
Clients include pubs, clubs and offices.
Anita said: “I started in 2000 as an administrator and worked my way up.
“It has been hard work and is not a 9 to 5 job but it can be very rewarding seeing the difference it makes.
“People come in and have no self esteem but once they start to apply for jobs you can see their confidence returning.”
Being shortlisted as a finalist in the Collection Crew of the Year is vindication of all the hard work the volunteers and staff have put into the social enterprise.
“To have made it to the finals out of all the UK wide businesses including public sector is amazing,” said Anita. “Our volunteers and staff have gone the extra mile and are enthusiastic in what they do.
“This is shown in our customer care which has been recognised nationally.”
The awards ceremony was held in the five star Landmark Hotel in London at the end of May.
It is a unique opportunity to gain industry recognition and to promote recycling, reuse and waste reduction.
LAMH Recycle Ltd, which is based at 29 Range Road, Motherwell, has a staff and volunteers of around 40.
The charity provides training, volunteering and employment opportunities through its unique recycling facility for long-term unemployed people experiencing mental ill health, as well as those with long term health conditions, disabilities and from other disadvantaged groups.
The social enterprise provides recycling services across the central belt of Scotland for private sector, domestic customers, charities and public sector clients.
In addition to the environmental benefits, the income generated provides vital funds to help people living with multiple and complex challenges.
Anita said: “We see people for the potential they have, offering supportive workplace activities which showcase their talents, skills and abilities.
“Ultimately, the goal is for participants to have gained skills, a sense of purpose and a positive view of their life and future goals.
“We’re really proud of our collections team – reaching the finals is a huge achievement. The team of 12, aged from 17 to 70-years-old, are at the frontline of our social enterprise.
“Always looking smart, with a smile for everyone, they pride themselves on providing professional and efficient customer service. Each one has their own story to tell having overcome their own personal challenges.
“They also look out for each other, share skills, provide mentoring support and take time to learn from each other.
“Each individual makes a vital contribution to the team and to our charity.
“They show such dedication to our cause, even volunteering to come in on their days off.”
Jacob Hayler, director at the Environmental Services Association and part of the judging panel, said: “ Judging this year’s Awards for Excellence was a real honour and a pleasure.
“There were so many strong entries and it was exciting to see the amount of energy and enthusiasm out there devoted to improving recycling and making the most of our resources.”