Feasibility Study into the Need for a Network for NI
In 2019 CRNI conducted a feasibility study to understand the impacts a membership network of reuse and repair operators would have on the sector in Northern Ireland. This was funded by DAERA.
77% of the Reuse and Repair organisations and 82% of Councils surveyed as part of the study felt a network would be valuable to promote the importance of the sector and shift perceptions around reuse and repair. Based on the outcomes of this study it was determined that a pilot reuse and repair network for Northern Ireland should be established, and is funded by DAERA.
There were a number of barriers identified by organisations which impacted their opportunity to grow the key ones highlighted being:
physical space and
competition, primarily due the availability of cheap and new products.
The organisations indicated that the most helpful support to enable them to grow their reuse and/or repair activities would be funding, and many specified funding for staff, space, vehicles and equipment as priorities.
Pilot Project to Create a Network in Northern Ireland
A pilot reuse and repair network was established in 2020 following a DAERA-funded feasibility study by CRNI, which confirmed the benefits of a network to support reuse and repair operators in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland Resources Network (NIRN) is supported by a Steering Committee of representatives from DAERA and CRNI and reuse and repair organisations in Northern Ireland, which are Fermanagh & Omagh District Council, East Belfast Mission, Zero Waste North West, Repair Café Belfast and FareShare NI.
NIRN connects community groups, charities and social enterprises across Northern Ireland to promote less waste and supports the growth and collaboration between reuse and repair organisations.
NIRN members are 4R’s Reuse Workshop, Belfast City Council, Belfast Tool Library, British Heart Foundation, Cloughmills Community Action Team, FareShare NI, Derry City & Strabane District Council, Fermanagh & Omagh District Council, Repair Café Belfast and Zero Waste North West. NIRN and its members contribute to the positive environmental, community and social changes that alter how people in Northern Ireland consume and preserve resources. The organisation provides opportunities for collaboration between reuse and repair organisations and delivers information on funding, training and business opportunities.