About us


 – 2008 –

As part of the Emmaus homeless charity in St Albans to start a wood recycling operation alongside their furniture recycling business.

– October 2010 –

With Emmaus support St Albans Wood Recycling CIC was set up by Geoff Deans as an independent social enterprise at the present Pickford Road site. It began with one driver and two part-time staff.

– March 2011 –

We provided our 1000th volunteer day!

– July 2011 –

One of our volunteers accepted a job as a part-time driver. He’s still with us and is now full-time. He spent 10 years unemployed before coming to us and is now part of the furniture!

– February 2012 –

We recycled our 1000th tonne of wood!

– August 2013 –

We supported a longtime volunteer Dave through his joinery course at Oakland college by employing him in the wood workshop.

– February 2014 –

Longtime volunteer Karen Sludds joined us as a director.

– February 2016 –

Volunteer Steve became our full time driver after many years not working as a single parent. Spot the pattern: volunteering turns into full time work. All our volunteers turned employees are still with us and form the core of our staff (five out of seven staff).


We are a not-for-profit social enterprise that is financially self-supporting. Our income is derived from the charges we make from our waste wood collection service and from sales of wood and wood products. Any surplus is reinvested in the business. We provide work, learning and training opportunities to those facing barriers to gaining paid employment and for local people who enjoy working with wood.

We work with local agencies such as job centre restart schemes and the probation service to provide practical work experience, learning and training opportunities. We provide an opportunity to help local people to develop their skills and confidence working alongside us as part of a team. We are socially inclusive and welcome volunteers from different backgrounds.


We are a Community Interest Company.
We are affiliated to the National Community Wood Recycling Project

Meet the team

Karen Sludds Geoff Deans 
"I have a background in healthcare IT and business operations and work on the day-to-day running of the business. I also manage the workshop and furniture making activities. I became a director in August 2014 after working as a volunteer on business planning and reorganisation. I love interacting with our customers and enjoy the creative side of planning new workshop projects. I also like to work with the adults with learning difficulties. I think our most important social aim is to give opportunities to those that would otherwise find it difficult to find a place to work or to contribute." "After having worked in IT in the city for over 10 years I was looking for a change. I discovered the world of community wood recycling via the NCWRP website. I Spent time volunteering at the Bristol and Manchester Wood recycling social enterprises and found the idea fitted in with my thinking – a business with social and environmental aims. In 2008 I took the plunge and started up a Wood Recycling business with St Albans Emmaus. In October 2010 with support from Emmaus I set up the independent St Albans Wood Recycling CIC at our current location in Pickford Road."