OXFAM has announced the relocation of its ‘Wastesaver’ textiles recycling business from Huddersfield – but it is to stay in Kirklees and will switch to Batley following the devastating factory fire last year.
The move safeguards dozens of jobs at the operation which had been under threat following the blaze – and new ones could even be created.
More than 70 firefighters were called to tackle the inferno at the charity’s Birkby plant in April 2011.
Click below to see our image gallery of the fire.Related content
The Beck Road warehouse, which sorted through thousands of tonnes of donated clothes and textiles, was the only operation of its kind in the country and raised £1m each year.
The international charity did resume operations at the site later in 2011 but has spent 18 months searching for new premises.
Yesterday it was announced it would relocate to premises at Grange Road, Soothill, near Batley, in the new year.Related content
Matt George, head of logistics for Oxfam’s trading division said: “After a difficult and extensive search, and with the help of Kirklees Council, we have been able to secure a site that will protect the employment of our 70 existing employees in West Yorkshire without the need to relocate elsewhere.
“Our priority has been to protect jobs while also working out a growth plan to maximise our profits from textile reuse and recycling, which go directly to help Oxfam fight poverty.
“We hope to offer new employment opportunities in Batley in due course.”
The 2011 fire caused the biggest loss of donations in the organisation’s history.
The unique sorting and recycling facility is a crucial part of the charity’s shop operations.
It receives 200 tonnes of clothing from its network of 700 shops each week, which is then resold, reused or recycled to maximise income and ensure nothing ends up in landfill.
A stock donation appeal launched by Oxfam following the blaze was backed by big names from the fashion and retail industries, including Whistles chief executive Jane Shepherdson and Red or Dead founder Wayne Hemingway.
The new site, formally the Rest Assured bed factory, will allow the textiles recycling business to grow and offers good access to motorway links to allow Oxfam to take product to and from its national network of shops.