Interview with our 2023 Jersey Conservation Award winners

The Acorn Reuse Project won Best Conservation Project in our Jersey Conservation Awards in 2023. We caught up with the team at Jersey Employment Trust to hear what it meant to win this year's Awards.

Congratulations on winning the 2023 Best Conservation project in Jersey - can you tell us how it feels to be named the winner?

It’s fantastic to have won the Best Conservation Award. It’s a real endorsement of what we are doing. The whole team were excited to win. Acorn provides work and training for people who have a disability or long-term health condition. We run several projects every day, including the scrap metal project.

Can you tell us a little more about your project and its aims?

Our scrap metal recycling project has saved more than 100,000 tonnes of metal from entering the waste stream. In 2022 we recycled 104,000 tonnes of metal, as well as cable and circuit boards.

Not only is this project benefiting the environment, it is also providing work and training for people who have a disability or long-term health condition. It is proving to be one of our most popular projects, with six sessions a week, enjoyed by 21 individuals.

We are dismantling electrical items that cannot be sold, sorting out different metals, stripping cable, and removing circuit boards. It is great for problem-solving, fine motor skills and evidencing general employable skills such as timekeeping and following instructions. It is also generating an income which goes straight back into more work and training opportunities and allows us to be a sustainable social enterprise.

What impact do you think the Acorn Reuse Project has on Jersey? 

The Reuse project is hugely beneficial to our community. By attending our projects, Islanders with disabilities gain self-confidence, report improved mental health and wellbeing, learn new skills and meet new friends. We play a key role in the Island’s waste strategy by encouraging Islanders to reuse rather than buy new. We ensure that any projects we start have an environmental gain, eg our bikes refurbishment and scrap metal projects. Our own Woodshack is a zero-waste operation. We also benefit low-income families by keeping prices low.

How do you think the prize money from our Award might be spent? 

The prize money will be reinvested into tools and equipment for the scrap metal project, perhaps another adjustable work bench, and a lockable tool holder to be made by our own Woodshack.