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Selling unused gym equipment helps to reinvest in mental health services

Organisation: Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Location: Hellingly Centre, Hailsham

Circular Economy

What's the idea?

The medium secure mental health unit at the Hellingly Centre has a gym for its service users to promote physical activity. In 2021, new standards were released that meant some gym equipment was no longer appropriate for the service.  Ordinarily, this gym equipment would be disposed of, despite being in useable condition, as storage at the site is limited. However, Jessica Lack, a Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist, wanted to reduce the waste and ensure that the equipment was reused.  

The Trust's estates and facilities team stepped in to help, co-ordinating with the Sussex Police to sell off the equipment to those who could use it.

Empty gym with dumbells

Impact of the project

Investment in mental health services

Revenue generated by the sale of this gym equipment was able to be reinvested back into the service
Two hands reaching out - one holding a small paper heart

Experts by Experience

This reinvestment allowed for some service users to become Experts by Experience, advising on identifying projects and new service ideas
Man standing in front of bright graffiti wall

Reducing waste

The reuse of this equipment, instead of its disposal, prevented a significant amount of waste of large, carbon- and resource-intensive items
Skip with broken office furniture

How you could implement a similar idea

There can often be a number of alternatives to getting rid of something you no longer need that saves it from landfill. Often this can have benefits even beyond reducing carbon and living more sustainably. 

Below are some tips on dealing with unwanted items: 

  • Repurpose – see if it can be repurposed to give it a brand new life, such as with wheelchairs.  
  • Give it away – there are plenty of charities that will take unwanted furniture, tools, or even leftover paint. There are also apps that will connect you to those who may want the item.
  • Share – for items that you don't use often, such as a drill, consider sharing with others who don't have them so that they are made use of.
  • Recycle – as a last resort, check if it can be recycled and dispose of it in the correct place. 

Resources to get you started

If you're interested but would like a bit more understanding around giving items away, check out these links for more information and inspiration:

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