Good Practice Project
Many people with disabilities find it difficult to find work and in some cases their families can be under pressure to organise and pay for day care. This project idea emerged when ASPROMOR, the Association of Disabled Persons of Mariña Ortegal, met the company Plastic Repair System (PRS) at a trade fair and discovered they had developed a technique to solder, and thereby mend, plastic objects. With the FLAG’s support, this technology was used to develop a service for the local fishing sector, provided by members of the community with mental and intellectual disabilities. Rather than discarding broken fish crates, the auctions can now take them to ASPROMOR and have them mended, thus avoiding the higher costs of purchasing new crates and reducing the environmental impact of such waste.
In order to launch this new service, ASPROMOR signed a contract with PRS (which has the patent for this recycling technique) and sent two women to their headquarters in Navarra to be trained in using the technology. The two ladies then returned to Mariña Ortegal to train and coordinate three small teams of people with disabilities or at risk of exclusion to become technicians for repairing products made of polyethylene and polypropylene: fish crates but also containers of municipal solid waste, urban furniture etc. As well as the training and educational material, the FLAG also funded the machinery and equipment necessary to start operations. While the EU financial support for this operation was limited to the start-up phase, the project is ongoing and financially sustainable beyond the FLAG-supported launch.
Those with mental disabilities work under close supervision and benefit from the professional support necessary (psychologists and physiotherapists). The project has also managed to ensure they benefited from the existing state-run service to provide transport to the work-place for people with disabilities and, as such, they are picked up from home in the morning and dropped off after their day’s work.
Twelve people with major labour market integration problems were trained to undertake professional activities, seven of which suffer intellectual disabilities and three from mental disorders. Eight of these are now employed in meaningful activities by ASPROMOR and, although they do not currently earn a salary, their work effectively covers the costs of their care and supervision, as well as integrating them into the work place and giving these people a sense of purpose and dignity. The two coordinators’ jobs are paid positions.
The fish auctions are estimated to make a 65% saving by repairing instead of replacing their fish crates, not to mention the reduced impact on the environment. In a second phase, ASPROMOR is exploring the possibility of undertaking the collection and delivery of the crates, thereby increasing the value of its service to the auctions and potentially creating the possibility of paying a small salary to the participants.
The application of recycling techniques for packaging and plastic boxes from the fisheries sector could – and should – be transferred to many fisheries areas around Europe; and combining this with social enterprise could improve the quality of life for disabled people and the long-term unemployed in many of these communities.
|Total project cost||€26 785,37|
|Timeframe of implementation||From Dec 2013 to Feb 2014|
|Type of area|