1998 was a year to remember for many reasons. Here, Lucy Danger, our CEO, explains why…
1998. A year where if you didn’t have a ‘Rachel from Friends’ haircut you might have felt a little left out. When mobile phones were just used for calling or texting, when Deidre Barlow was having real trouble in Coronation Street, and when a small company called Google was founded. It was a year that saw the Eurovision Song contest being held in the UK too – so (haircuts and telephones aside) I guess some things don’t change that much.
Fast forward twenty-five years and, as we get excited to see this year’s Eurovision in Liverpool, at EMERGE we’re also excited for another important reason.
This year we’re proudly celebrating our 25th anniversary. That’s a whole quarter of a century of pioneering the rescuing of resources and improving lives in communities across Greater Manchester.
From very humble beginnings, EMERGE (our full name is East Manchester Environment & Resources Group Emerge) was born in Mary’s D’s pub in Beswick in 1996, inspired by the opportunity to galvanise people to do something positive to combat waste.
It’s hard to believe that, as an organisation which started as a voluntary group proving that kerbside collections for recycling works, we now employ around 50 people and are supported by an army of around 150 amazing volunteers.
Cllr Neil Swannick, formerly an East Manchester Councillor who became Environmental Lead Member, was the very first Chair of our Board. He warmly congratulates us on our 25th year, saying: “Back in 1998, people were talking about the 3Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle – but EMERGE was actually doing it! I was thrilled to be ‘in at the beginning’ and this excitement continued to inspire me during my 13 years as Chair of the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority.”
EMERGE still runs award winning recycling and reuse services which provide businesses and organisations with more sustainable resource management solutions as well as promoting the idea and practice of the real 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycling) through valuable advice, and information for the wider community.
We rescue waste wood through our Touch Wood shop, repurposing it for resale to the public and reuse in our workshop, by supplying it to tradespeople or DIYers for reuse or by creating beautiful upcycled timber products for sale which can be enjoyed for years to come.
EMERGE also operates FareShare GM in partnership with the national food surplus charity, reducing food waste and supporting nearly 300 charities and other organisations locally as they feed people in our local community. Our volunteering and employability programme continues to help hundreds of people gain valuable work experience as they take the next step in their personal or professional development.
I’m really proud that all these years later, the initial ethos and values of EMERGE endure and thanks to the wonderful new waves of volunteers and staff, are stronger than ever today.
We continue to strive to be pioneers in our field – leading the way and supporting others to live more sustainably, reduce, reuse and recycle waste, energy and water and support each other to improve lives in our local communities.
Over the next twelve months we have some exciting plans to mark our 25th anniversary year and we’d love as many people as possible to join us. Whether to share your memories or thoughts about how you’ve been part of our journey over the last quarter century; share our anniversary content on social media; make a donation or join our fundraising activities; or pledge to take positive action to reduce waste in your own home or community we’d love to hear from you and for you to be part of it.
Do watch this space as we’ll be sharing more about our plans for our anniversary year in the coming weeks and months. Please get involved – we promise you don’t need to get a Rachel haircut to join in the celebrations…