Lancashire

Skelmersdale mobility repairer in final of lottery awards

Paul Miller (r) with technician Allan Baker at the Brighter Future Workshop in Skelmersdale
Image caption The trainees learn mechanical and electronic skills

A Lancashire social enterprise which repairs mobility equipment has made it through to the finals of the National Lottery Awards 2011.

The Brighter Future Workshop in Skelmersdale is competing against two others for the title of the UK's Best Environment Project.

The charity trains young disabled people to recycle mobility equipment that would otherwise go to landfill.

There are 22 groups in the finals which can be voted for from 2 September.

There groups are split across seven categories, with each of the seven winners receiving a £2,000 cash prize to spend on their project as well as national recognition at an event later in the year, broadcast on BBC1.

The charity is vying for the title with the Green Valley Centre in Wales and the nationwide Open Air Laboratories Network (OPAL).

Queen's Award

So far the Workshop's staff have recycled over 5,000 pieces of mobility equipment. Since it was created in 2005 it has also helped to train over 3,000 disadvantaged people.

Peter Cousins MBE, chairman of Brighter Future Workshop, said being nominated was a great way to showcase the charity's "unique recycling operation".

"More importantly the publicity generated by this prestigious event will substantially increase our profile, bringing us to the attention of many more people with disabilities who either need recycled mobility equipment, or who have equipment they wish to donate to help other people regain or retain their mobility," Mr Cousins said.

When it was initially set up the organisation was funded through grants from organisations including the Big Lottery.

It is now 80% self-sustaining through the sale of the mobility and disability equipment it refurbishes.

In April its work was recognised with a Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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