UNIVERSITY students are going automatically to the top of the class with South Tyneside charities.
Each year, dozens of items left behind by students at Sunderland University are handed over to borough training provider Springboard South Tyneside.
Everything from lamps to kettles to CDs are donated to Springboard, a not-for-profit organisation, based at Aidan Court, Bede Industrial Estate, Jarrow.
Centre manager Shelagh Lamb said: “Springboard South Tyneside works effectively with Sunderland University to help make positive contributions to local communities and charities, through a sustainable recycling project.
“Every summer, Springboard collects a wide variety of items belonging to Sunderland University students, who discard them at the end of the academic year.
“These items range from clothes and books to various electrical household items, such as kettles and toasters.
“The warehousing trainees at Springboard utilise their skills to check off the items, and sort and label them in readiness for various beneficiaries.
“These include the women’s refuge and community regeneration in South Tyneside, the Salvation Army and Abbeyfield Lodge, a hostel for homeless men in Sunderland, and Martha’s Kitchen in Washington.”
Other charities which benefit from the student-inspired programme include the British Heart Foundation Gift Aid scheme, which receives bigger items, such as beds and fridge freezers, which has so far raised £15,000 for the fight against heart disease.
Ms Lamb added: “A number of trainees carry out car boot sales, selling some of the goods.
“Last year, they raised £50 and decided to donate this to Barnado’s.
“Springboard’s last Ofsted inspection, in February 2012, highlighted this work as an innovative sustainable project.”
Originally launched in 1975, Springboard has local bases in Jarrow, Sunderland, East Durham and Hartlepool.
The group organises training and volunteering for all age groups, works with local employers and helps secure apprenticeships and job opportunities for learners.
Springboard South Tyneside also offers short bespoke training courses, such as food hygiene, manual handling and team building.
For details, call 483 4555.