The construction industry throws away huge quantities every year of timber that in many cases they’ve used very briefly or even just over ordered it for a project we collect tonnes and tonnes of good quality timber that would otherwise be wasted and we reuse it Bristol Wood Recycling Project is a co-operative founded in 2003 we collect wood waste in vans, we bring it back to a site where we de-nail it all we have a yard where we sell wood and we’ve got a workshop where we make amazing wooden products and as a social enterprise we work with volunteers throughout all of our activities that’s kind of the simple bit of the business it’s all the other stuff that fits around it that makes it complex and very deep and textured we don’t work like a typical business or a typical structure of a workplace we’re just kind of a bit unique that we all kind of do it together as if it’s like a bunch of friends that have a project going on you grow as a person and you grow your job as well some people join because they hear that it’s a good place to volunteer, it’s fun to be here some people join because they want to train in the workshop everyone’s here because they want to be constructive either for themselves or for other people routinely in the workshop I might have people whose first language isn’t English I might have elderly retired people, people with some mild learning difficulties or going through some mental health difficulties things like that providing those people a place where they can have a structured task, learn some things and most importantly be together with other people from completely different places that’s one of the most valuable aspects of what we do that’s the best bit just seeing everybody kind of be part of this little family, this little community that we have here because we’re a co-op means that it can reflect everybody that is within it everybody’s views have an opportunity to be aired and the decisions that we make are very much the collective will of all of us last year I applied to The Hive for some training and support in terms of our governance procedures within the co-operative we had identified a crisis in our governance in that we didn’t really know what it was they were able to supply a trainer for four days who helped us conduct a review of where we were in governance and where we would like to be and now we have a directorship which everyone wants to be a part of and we’ve got clear responsibilities and procedures for becoming a director and for what decisions are made at that level having people from co-ops to assist other co-ops is exactly what we need because that’s the solidarity of co-ops I’ve learnt so much here, I’ve done so many different things it’s hard to imagine working somewhere else and getting anything like as many different types of fulfilment my volunteering helps me with one or two issues I’ve had in the recent past and it just brings out the sunshine in people this place