Liberty is a non-profit organisation that funds rehabilitation services and provides (DSP) Department of Social Protection sponsored training for people affected by drug use. Liberty Recycling is a social enterprise recycling used textiles, mainly clothing and footwear. Liberty’s provides practical work experience in a real working environment. 46 positions are offered on Community Employment, 75% of which are offered as rehabilitation, and facilitates the employment of five C.E supervisors. Liberty Recycling is a registered charity and currently employs 21 people directly, including one keyworker, three administators, two charity shop managers along with one retail assistant, five graders and seven van drivers, and the CEO. Liberty Recycling offers QQI-accredited training in-house and a range of external courses financed by DSP individual Learning Plan training allowance and by Liberty Recycling directly.
An Innovative Social Enterprise
As a social enterprise Liberty Recycling delivers a triple bottom line, i.e. it delivers social, economic and environmental benefits to its employees and their families, its local communities and its stakeholders.
Liberty is a registered charity, No. CHY 14553.
Some Key Output Indicators
- Liberty Recycling aims to progress people drug free into mainstream opportunities. Over the past 5 years 59 people have moved into employment and another 14 into further education and training.
- The project is a registered charity and Community Employment Scheme employing over 65 people.
- Liberty Recycling offers a unique combination of practical work experience, certified training and rehabilitation to those affected by drugs.
- In 2010 4 people became drug free and a further 13 were progressing towards being drug free. Overall the retention rate for the project is over 70%.
- Each year Liberty’s participants gain over 100 certified training awards in subjects as diverse as Forklift Driving, Computer Applications and Maths, Sage Payroll and ECDL.
- Liberty Recycling provides nearly €500,000 in income to its charity suppliers such as Saint Vincent de Paul and the Irish Cancer Society each year.
- The project exports used clothing directly to markets in developing countries, currently Nigeria, where the clothes are resold. Liberty Recycling also distributes clothing and blankets to local charities/projects.
- Over 2000 tonnes of used clothing are recycled each year.
Liberties Recycling is also unique:
- In terms of drug rehabilitation Liberty Recycling is unique in Ireland in that it offers a combination of rehabilitation supports, accredited training and practical work experience within a social enterprise.
- Liberty Recycling is the only enterprise in Ireland that collects, sorts and grades clothes locally adding value through the creation of local employment and training opportunities.
Founder & CEO of Liberty Recycling
Philip has moved between the twin worlds of textile recycling and the challenges of drug use all his life.
His family for generations worked in the Iveagh Market in Dublin’s inner city Liberties area.
Traditionally this market was established by the Guinness family to provide low cost goods to the poor and to move the traders off the streets. His early days exposed him to learning the “rag trade” at first hand as the Moloney family bought and sold second hand clothes and shoes in the market and indeed at markets throughout the country. His ability to assess the value of items and to identify fabric quality became a second nature skill that would later serve him well in International markets for textiles.
He worked in Coolmine Therapeutic Community from 1987-1991. Here he developed a keen sense of the challenges faced in drug rehabilitation over the three years he worked in the TC.
In 1993 he completed the Merchants’ Quay Ireland Drugs Training and worked in their High Park residential rehab for eight years. He singlehandedly developed their gym facility and led the Physical Training programmes for residents there. He is also a long distance runner.
While at High Park Residential Treatment Centre, Philip recognised the potential of the growing clothes donations being made by people to the Franciscan Friary for the AIDS, homeless and drug users attending.
He came up with the idea of combining a recycling enterprise with providing drug users with a skill training opportunity.
In 1994 with the help of FAS and MQI he set up a small sorting and grading programme in Basin Lane. Many of the early trainees were from the Liberties area and were wrestling with issues of alcohol and drug addiction.
Philips forte was in securing international outlets for selling the sorted, graded and baled clothes. He not only got customers in England, Eastern Europe and Ireland but in such far flung countries as Pakistan, Togo and Nigeria.
He led the expansion of the programme to its present factory style premises in Bluebell and oversaw the increase of trainees to 50 places.
Between 2010 and 2013 he led the restructuring of the programme to streamline a dedicated Rehabilitation programme. Since 2010 this restructure enabled 12 people becoming Drug free, 20 people moving to employment and 5 people going back to studies.
Philip still lives in Dublin city.