Real World Living clients dismantle seats at the SeatSmart child car seat recycling programme.

The SeatSmart child car seat recycling programme (operated by 3R Group) isn’t just about keeping seats out of landfill but also making a positive contribution to society.

Working with social enterprises like Real World Living is something we are always keen on, so we were thrilled to have them come on board recently to help prepare seats for dismantling at our Auckland depot, on a trial basis.

The organisation works with people with physical and mental challenges to give them opportunities for working in and experiencing the world through volunteer work, says Real World Living Step Group Programme Coordinator Jackie Turvey. “We work to enhance their lives with purposeful activities and the opportunities and connections they provide.”

We chatted to Jackie to find out how the trial has been going for them.

Why did Real World Living decide to trial working with SeatSmart?

Our clients need to be exposed to real life experiences, learn practical skills with repetitive routines that eventually become transferrable skills. We also like to work with local businesses that are supportive of our clients.

How do your clients enjoy the work and what do you feel they get from it?

For some of our clients the idea of work is exciting, it means having the opportunity to have a job like everyone else, being more independent like their siblings and friends and getting paid for what they do. However, in reality, once exposed to the different work environments, established routines, and repetitive tasks they gain more insight into what work life is really like from firsthand experience.

As they work, they learn skills along the way that become transferrable in other areas of their life, form friendships, and learn work ethics, and social skills and interpersonal skills with colleagues.

What sort of feedback have you been getting from them?

That the staff are friendly, helpful and very supportive and are always encouraging our clients.

Is SeatSmart’s purpose around sustainability a factor for Real World and its clients?

We are also working on establishing sustainable practices within our organisation, like using donated and recycled materials in our workshop and setting up a sustainable ‘garden to table’ programme as training for clients to look after plants.

What do you hope the future will hold for the current trial?

We hope it will become a fixture within our work programme. It’s great to have businesses like 3R welcoming us into the workplace and we would like to continue developing our relationships with them and other businesses in our community.