A project based on the old saying ‘where there’s muck there’s brass’ is taking a step forward after the appointment of a project manager.

Repair Academy in Calne was launched in April to help young people in Wiltshire gain new skills and help the environment by refurbishing items thrown away at the tip.

Doug North, who is a former project manager with Devizes charity Kenn3et Furniture, is to take over leadership of the academy, which is based at a warehouse on the Porte Marsh Industrial Estate.

Youngsters not in education, employment or training restore furniture and white goods, which are then sold.

Mr North said: “The Repair Academy is a fantastic opportunity within Wiltshire helping to unite the voluntary and community sector even more.

“Having spent time working in a similar role I could not resist the opportunity that the Repair Academy has presented. The capability of saving tonnes of usable items from landfill, to then be used for training and development, and finally ending up in a household which could not normally afford these same basic, refurbished items, is a fantastic prospect.

“It’s going to be a challenging year getting it operating to capacity, but with the support of the partners involved, I have every confidence that it will be a success.”

Emma Chapman, director of business and commercial services for The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, said: “The appointment of Doug North is crucial to the success of the Repair Academy. We have a fantastic opportunity to showcase this flagship project and eventually widen its reach to cover Wiltshire.”

The Repair Academy is a partnership between Hills Waste Solutions and Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Community First, Kennet Furniture, Refurbiz, Waste Not Want Not, Wiltshire College and Swindon College.

Hills Waste Solutions and Wiltshire Council are also running a pilot scheme where suitable items for restoration are passed on to the academy by household recycling centres.