The National Lottery Community Fund is highlighting the incredible work recycling projects are making to the lives of local people across Manchester.  

The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK has made significant investments in the environment since its inception, through community-led projects that are focussed on activities that not only improve but use the environment to enhance the lives of people and communities. 

One such project that is leading the way in teaching the local community the importance of recycling and tackling throwaway culture is, The Moss Side Repair Café.

Located in The Boiler House, a former district heating system for the area, the Repair Café has now repurposed the space into a community workshop where people can bring their broken household items and learn how to fix or upcycle them rather than throwing it away – both saving money and protecting the environment. Thanks to a recent grant of just under £10,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund, the project has been able to equip itself with more equipment and staff.

Emily Corner, project manager for Moss Side Repair Café said:Many items that people buy nowadays are cheap and poorly made – chipboard, veneered items, rather than solid wood; plastic items rather than metal. By repurposing and repairing older and sturdier items, we can create a modern-looking piece of furniture which will last for years to come. This also reduces the number of items sent to landfill and limiting demand for new items means fewer new trees cut down and processed and a lesser volume of plastic produced.”

Operated and run by, Sow the City, a Manchester based social enterprise that encourages people in the city to grow and eat nutritious food, the Repair Café not only upcycles items but teaches visitors the skills needed to do it themselves through workshops. 

Taking place on the last Saturday of every month, the Repair Café opens its doors to people from the local community looking to give their house hold items a new lease of life. The project gives them the chance to find the tools, materials and expertise to repair electrical items, clothes, furniture, bikes etc. all for free. 

Emily added: “National lottery funding has allowed Sow the City to establish, promote and organise sessions every month. We have a mixture of paid staff and volunteers at each event, which works well. Funding has allowed us to buy some brilliant fixing equipment – tools, resources, consumables (bulbs, fuses, plugs, wires). We have bought everything needed for our bike repair station too, which we would not have been able to afford otherwise – bike stands, specialist tools, consumables (inner tubes, brake pads, brake and gear wires etc.).” 

Another project in Manchester bringing to light the importance of sustainability and recycling is the A2Z Renewable Development Trust. Based in the heart of Longsight at the Northmoor Community Centre, the project teaches young people aged 5 –to18 how to make their own sources of renewable energy. 

Through innovative workshops, the young people are taught how to make things from solar powered lamps to mini wind turbines and mirrors made with waste plastic. Teaching the younger generation in the area the importance of recycling and renewable energy is key for the project as it educates them on the importance of tackling climate change, as well as teaching them vital STEM skills to improve their future career prospects. 

Azuka Obaah, project manager for A2Z Renewable Development Trust said: “My motivation for this project is my children and the younger generation as well as the community. We need to leave behind good guidance, training and giving them different insights and views, on how we all can use technology coupled with renewables to live better. Thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund we can now teach the young people in the area the importance of recycling and renewable sources of energy.”

Mark Purvis, Deputy Director England Grant making at The National Lottery Community Fund said: “Thanks to National Lottery players we are able to support projects and organisations across Greater Manchester teaching their local community the importance of recycling and sustainability. When local people are in the lead amazing things can happen and communities thrive.”

The Fund’s commitment to raising awareness of environmental issues in local communities across the UK was further highlighted recently, with the announcement of a new £100 million Climate Action Fund which seeks to empower these communities to take high impact climate action. Applications for the fund will open in Autumn 2019.  


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