Meet Alcira Ferrari, who moved to West Sussex from Argentina in 2003 and has been a Waste Prevention Advisor for the past seven years.
Eager to feel part of her community, Findon Valley Library soon became the hub of her activity – and a promotion to become part of the Waste Prevention Advisor (WPA) team caught her eye.
The scheme promotes the best ways West Sussex residents of all ages can reduce, reuse and recycle – and are currently looking for more recruits.
“It was a good way of introducing me to an issue that can benefit the community,” said Alcira.
“I signed up to the course because I was curious about current affairs and I wanted to feel integrated into the community and the WPA scheme has helped me not only understand an important issue but improve my English in everyday situations.
“It is has given me a great opportunity to gain a greater level of knowledge, while socialising with others who all have differing stories.”
The scheme has been running for seven years, supporting the waste team at West Sussex County Council drive up recycling and drive down waste using a community based approach.
As well as attaining a greater understanding of continuing environmental concerns, there are additional benefits to becoming a WPA.
She said: “New WPAs have the opportunity to learn about an important issue and get to know people on a good social level in a healthy and relaxing environment.
“The friendliness of the course has always stood out and I’m happy when I feel I can be useful.
“It has been a wonderful experience.”
The WPA Scheme’s training courses run annually and those who volunteer now will start training in February 2015 – ready for events next spring and summer.
All training required for the volunteering role will be provided, covering everything you need to know about waste prevention through an e-learning programme designed and monitored by the University of Brighton.