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Dee-Tex Project in Saltney, Flintshire, is UK’s best-performing social enterprise

Dee-Tex Project in Saltney, Flintshire, is UK’s best-performing social enterprise

IN 2003 Brian McManus’s five-year-old son Daniel collapsed at school with liver failure.

After Brian and his wife Sarah were told it was unlikely their son would make it through the night, Daniel was rushed to the top of the UK transplant list.

Luckily a donor was found and he made a full recovery.

His son’s ordeal and recovery was the catalyst behind Brian starting what is now one of the UK’s most successful social enterprises.

Dee-Tex Project, a textile recycling company based in River Lane, Saltney, grew from Brian’s original idea E-Raise, which saw him selling unwanted goods and clothes on eBay and at car boot sales to raise money for charity from an office in Connah’s Quay.

In an interview with the Chronicle in 2006, Brian said he would ‘love’ to see the project work in Flintshire.

“My aim is to repay the debt I feel I owe to all those people who helped to save my son’s life, but I also want to create a social benefit and to generate employment,” he said.

Since then Brian’s has more than achieved his goal.

Dee-Tex, which was formed later in 2006, was recently named top in the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Social Enterprise 100 Index.

In the last financial year Dee-Tex saw growth of 1,123% and was the best-performing social enterprise organisation in the UK.

The not-for-profit organisation collects unwanted clothes and textiles and redistributes them or recycles them into fibres, diverting more than 300 tonnes of textiles from landfill each year.

Flintshire charities and organisations where the deposit banks are based then receive money from Dee-Tex for the clothing they collect.

Northop-Hall based Save The Family has raised £3,000 from its clothing bank.

Chester-based Miles of Smiles has raised more than £2,000, and another £15,000 has been raised for other local causes including Saltney Community Centre and Treuddyn Village Hall.

And schools and nurseries across Flintshire, Wrexham and Chester can also benefit, with Dee-Tex paying them an agreed rate per kilo.

Clothes in good condition are sold cheaply from the organisation’s shop in Shotton. “We started from nothing,” said Brian. “Now we have a large warehouse, run two shops and a fleet of vehicles. The little idea I had in 2006 has progressed to where we are now, without funding, investment or even a bank overdraft.”

Since 2006 Dee-Tex has created paid jobs, raised more than £40,000 for local charities and community groups and helped disadvantaged residents into work through volunteering.

“I would like to thank the local community in Flintshire and Chester for supporting us and helping to develop Dee-Tex,” said Brian.

“It’s what social enterprise is all about, it’s working with the community for the benefit of the community.

“We are not a funded organisation, every penny goes back into the project or the community, and it is only with the support of the community that we have been able to achieve what we have.”

And Brian has more plans for further expansion across Flintshire and Cheshire. He said: “Our aim is to establish a local industry in textile recycling, working with the private and public sector to deliver contracts.

“£100,000 can be made every year in Flintshire – and a quarter of a million pounds in Chester – by delivering the textiles.

“If the councils take control of it instead of private companies who are doing it now, we can keep the money here and put it back into community projects.”

For more information visit www.deetexproject.org.