A SCHEME that allows students in Chester to easily donate unwanted items to charity has been hailed a success.

Vast quantities of books, furniture, food, electrical goods, clothing and kitchenware have been going to waste when the young men and women leave their accommodation for the summer.

But an initiative in the city's Garden Quarter by Cheshire West and Chester Council sees the authority's waste management service collect the items and pass them on to charities.

Called 'Want Not Waste Not', it has already benefited the likes of Richmond Court homeless hostel, The Bren Project for people with learning disabilities, Save the Family and West Cheshire Food Bank.

The Garden Quarter is close to the University of Chester's main campus and has historically been the main area for private sector rental housing for students.

It has historically presented “significant barriers to recycling which can result in poor local environmental quality and customer complaints to the waste management service”, according to the council.

Cllr Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment, said: “The student area traditionally gets bad press when the students move into the area in September as in the past, waste issues have significantly increased. This problem is impacted when students move out for the summer.

“Although there is already comprehensive recycling engagement and enforcement we felt that students should be given every opportunity possible to dispose of their unwanted items.

“The new blue hessian bags provided encourage the recycling of clothing, books, utensils, small electricals, pots and pans, cutlery and crockery, bedding and unopened in-date food.”

While students are the main target for the project, residents have also embraced it.

Ward member Cllr Bob Rudd welcomed the new scheme having spent previous years with the challenge of removing excess waste from the area.

He said local charities had been “very pleased” with the quality of materials donated.

Josie McLachlan from Save the Family added: “We are extremely grateful to Cheshire West and Chester Council for spearheading this initiative with students from the University of Chester.

“Save the Family provides support and accommodation to homeless and troubled families at its centre outside Chester and also to families in the community who are struggling because of social and economic poverty.

“The items that have been donated have been warmly received by the charity and are now being distributed to families arriving at our centre who have very little or have lost possessions due to traumatic circumstances. Our outreach mentors will also be distributing items to families in the locality over the summer and everything that has been so generously donated will make an enormous difference to those in crisis.

“We would like to say a massive thank you to all those involved in this project.”