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Wistaston Scout Group to Discontinue Aluminium Can Collection Scheme

Gerald Newbrook with his replica First World War Boy Scout Ambulance (photo: Jonathan White)

Article and Photographs: Jonathan White

Wistaston Scout Group (35th South West Cheshire) is to discontinue its aluminium can collection scheme in Wistaston.

The scheme was setup and organised by Gerald Newbrook with numerous aluminium can collection bins located throughout the village. 

The scheme has been raising money for Wistaston Scout Group since 2012 and has raised £9,500 towards supporting Wistaston Scout Group to contribute to the construction of their new Scout Centre, in Bluebell Wood, off Elm Drive, Wistaston.

The scheme became something of a cottage industry as Gerald was helped by at least three other adults and Friday’s became aluminium can collection days. Gerald built a motorised can crusher and on a Friday morning he would do the rounds to collect the cans from a variety of locations. There were also number of businesses on board who saved cans from their canteens etc.

Wistaston Scout Group – an aluminium can collection bin (photo: Jonathan White)

The team assembled on a Friday afternoon and the morning’s collection were crushed and bagged. Scouts would also get involved by supplying aluminium cans they had collected at home. Once there were enough cans to fill a forty-foot container trailer all the Group Leaders would get together to load the trailer.

The scheme was also an environmentally beneficial activity, as recycling aluminium uses only around 5% of the energy and emissions needed to make it from the raw material bauxite. A valuable learning exercise for the youngsters and good for the environment as well.

However, the collections are to be discontinued soon as the new £300,000 Scout Centre has now been built, the price of aluminium has slumped, and Gerald Newbrook deserves time away from the weekly collections.

Gerald Newbrook is an original member of the 35th South West Cheshire (Wistaston) Scout Group, a former District Commissioner and is now an Honorary President. Gerald was the first Scout in the South West Cheshire group in 1958 and is still involved in Scouting.

A representative from Wistaston Scout Group said: “We setup the aluminium can recycling banks around the village eight years ago, when we needed to raise funds to enable us to re-build our home, the Wistaston Scout Centre, which had become unsafe to use. The new Scout Centre was completed by December 2017 and has been paid for in full so the need for funds, although this will always be necessary, is not quite as urgent as it was when we needed to finance the building project.

“The price we receive from the metal processing industry for the cans we collect has dropped to less than half what it was when we started collecting in 2012, making it much less attractive as a source of income. We also feel it is time for Gerald Newbrook to be released from the weekly job of going around emptying the can-banks, so he can spend his time on other activities.

“We wish to express our grateful thanks to all those friends and members of the public who have saved their used drinks cans an donated them to our fund-raising appeal for many years.”

Wistaston Scout Group started in 1958 and currently has 130 young people and 30 leaders and helpers. For further information please visit their web site.

A local community group or school who would like to use the can-bins to start their own aluminium can collections are invited to contact Wistaston Scout Group via: gsl@wistastonscoutgroup.org.uk

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