Leeds & West Yorkshire

Business as usual at fire-hit Huddersfield Oxfam depot

Charity workers at an Oxfam warehouse in West Yorkshire say they are now managing to sort up to 80 tonnes of donations each week, despite a devastating fire.

The fire in April destroyed about £1m worth of equipment at Oxfam's depot in Huddersfield, forcing workers to sort donations almost entirely by hand.

Before the fire the depot sorted about 100 tonnes of textiles every week.

Oxfam plans to install new sorting equipment at the depot in September.

Lorraine Needham-Brinley, production manager at the Wastesaver warehouse in Beck Road, said only four days' production were lost despite the fire.

"There has been a lot of work but the staff have been amazing, absolutely stunning," she said.

"They are now hand-sorting between 70-80 tonnes every week. It's absolutely crazy, really."

Gutted warehouse

Oxfam Wastesaver receives clothes, textiles and shoes from donations that are not immediately sold through the charity's shops.

Staff at the Huddersfield depot, which has been in operation for more than 20 years, are now working in temporary units near the gutted warehouse.

Depot worker Alan MacDowell said everyone was having to work much harder as a result of the fire.

He said: "There's a lot of running up and down and a lot of manual handling because we've lost the conveyor belts.

"But we're doing as good as we can do. We're keen to get the job done."

Oxfam said it would still be several months before the Huddersfield depot was back up to full capacity.

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