A social enterprise in Calne that combines recycling with practical training was praised by the Minister for Civil Society in a visit last week.

The Repair Academy, which was set up in April, aims to reduce the number of items going into landfill while helping people to gain skills for employment.

MP Brooks Newmark was given a tour of the Porte Marsh Industrial Estate repair centre and was impressed.

He said: “It deals with two problems in society, pulls it together and comes up with a solution, so I think that’s really good.”

He said it gave people the chance to learn a skill by fixing items that would normally be thrown out.

The enterprise receives goods that would otherwise have gone to landfill sites, and repairs or restores them so they can be sold or reused.

The Minister was shown a boxed Persuaders toy car, which could be sold for more than £50 on eBay, a games console and games, and a brand new studio easel, all of which were saved from landfill.

The Repair Academy has flourished thanks to partnerships with Community First, Kennet Furniture Project, Swindon and Wiltshire Colleges, Waste Not Want Not, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Hills Waste Solutions.

Students can complete a two-week course at Wiltshire College before undertaking a six-week placement with the social enterprise.

Project manager Doug North said: “Not everyone wants to be a white goods engineer but they may be interested in working in an office, in which case we can put them in an office environment at one of the charities.”