Montage of pictures showing group of people standing outside a building in front of assorted furniture

Thousands of Swansea University students called Hendrefoilan Student Village home for more than half a century before the site finally closed earlier this year.

The village was popular with students looking for low-cost off-campus living with a social atmosphere for many years. Situated in a woodland area between Sketty and Killay, it was once home to more than 1,600 students.

It was built in phases between 1971 and 1993 to accommodate the University’s rising student numbers before being sold to property developer St Modwen in 2013.

But even though it’s the end of the line for the student village, the contents of its 228 flats and houses are now beginning a new chapter, thanks to a green initiative developed and delivered by the University.

The Decant Project saw the University team up with David Phillips Furniture Ltd to support local charities and the wider community by ensuring as many of the furnishings as possible were reused and recycled. 

Handover to the developer was completed in June when the final residents left the village’s Woodside area and work could begin on clearing the remaining buildings of furnishings including wardrobes, desks, and kitchen appliances.

In just 13 days the project:

  • Collected more than 6,000 items from the student village. Of these 40 per cent – 2,400 items – were donated to charities, benefiting an estimated 1,270 low-income households,
  • Generated 142 tonnes of carbon savings by diverting items from landfill or through energy recovery; and,
  • Recycled 34 tonnes of wood waste into MDF, recycled 500 mattresses, and 29 tonnes of metal.

The five Welsh charities to benefit from the project were Boomerang, Wastesavers, Pembrokeshire FrameGroundwork and Toogoodtowaste.

Swansea University’s Waste and Recycling Officer and Decant Project lead Fiona Wheatley said: “We couldn’t be happier with the result of the project. We were keen to ensure as much as possible from our buildings was donated to charities or recycled.

“By working with David Phillips Furniture, we have saved an incredible 142 tonnes of carbon overall and recycled a total of 73 tonnes of waste.

“This project has been an excellent example of the benefits of collaboration - not just between different University departments but also by working with external partners.

“Clearing the furniture out the accommodation blocks required a monumental effort by everyone involved but it is great to see local communities benefit from the items which could be resused and we have also been able to significantly reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.”

This year to supplement the accommodation available at Singleton Park, Bay Campus and Beck Hall, the University has signed a deal with two purpose-built student accommodation providers in the Swansea city centre.

Find out more about Sustainability at Swansea University



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