Gloucester’s Best Kept Secret
Published: 17 July 2013
Creative ideas on display
Does the thought of entertaining the children during the school summer holidays fill you with dread? Whilst a day out might seem the easiest solution, the costs of visiting attractions - the petrol, the entrance fees, plus the inevitable ice-creams and souvenirs - can soon mount up.
However, we can let you into a little secret. Hidden away, close to Gloucester city centre, is the Scrapstore, where a small spend can give hours of enjoyment. For this is an Aladdin’s cave, full of mysterious objects that have been diverted from landfill, to become a treasure chest waiting to be opened by creative minds. Young and old alike are mesmerised by the colours, textures and sheer choice of the items on display. It doesn’t take long to see the potential of what is on offer and children always seem to have the best ideas!
Once Upon a Time
Gloucestershire Resource Centre, more commonly known as The Scrapstore, has been in existence since the mid-1980s. Its mission is to collect clean, discarded waste from local companies and pass it on to community groups and schools, for use in their arts, crafts and play projects. Remarkably, last year the Scrapstore diverted over 80 tonnes of business waste from going into landfill, to be re-used. It’s not just the obvious materials like card, paper, tubes and textiles that are of value. All sorts of containers, CDs, ex-display materials, tiles, leather offcuts, plastics, end of line products, small offcuts of wood, sample books, corks and bottle tops are all eagerly snapped up by crafts people.
Colourful and tactile
Being creative has no age barrier and over the years the Scrapstore has been enormously popular with playgroups, guide and scout troops, nurseries, childminders, schools, theatre and faith groups, care homes and health services.
Last year membership of the Scrapstore was opened up to families and students, so they too could take advantage of this fantastic resource, whereby they can purchase small quantities of scrap for use at home.
Bags of Value
Although the Scrapstore is essentially involved in finding a new home for unwanted waste, there are costs involved. These include transportation, heating and lighting, upkeep of premises, staff wages, etc. The Scrapstore is a not-for-profit organisation which for many years was subsidised by the County Council. Funding was withdrawn in recent years and they now have to meet all expenses themselves. Fortunately, the Gloucester Scrapstore is able to subsidise its costs by offsetting income it receives from renting out other parts of its building, including a large dance studio and conference room, to other organisations.
Family and student membership is just £7 per year. Each family is supplied with a reusable bag which they can fill with their choice of Scrapstore goodies for just £5.
A Treasure Trove
One Person's Waste is Another's Treasure
Businesses who may have clean ‘rubbish’ that might be suitable for use by crafts groups, are encouraged to get in touch with the Scrapstore. Suitable items can be offcuts from a manufacturing process, ends of lines, clean plastic, paper, wood or textiles and obsolete products - the more unusual the better! In diverting stuff from going directly into landfill, not only could your business save money in waste disposal fees, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that others will find your junk useful.
Reuse, Recycle and Up-Cycle Ideas
To get your creative juices going, the Scrapstore have put together a Pinterest board featuring items made from recycled materials. They also have a selection of leaflets available on their website with lots of ideas for creative play, from printing batik to making carnival floats. Plus, there are lots of beautiful creations on display in the Scrapstore, which are truly inspirational!
Imagine and Create
So this summer holiday, why not turn off the games consoles, televisions and computers for a while and take the kids down to the Scrapstore in Gloucester. Let their imaginations run wild as they browse through the shelves and allow them to choose things they can turn into an artwork, or maybe a musical instrument, or a toy, or a game, or even something to wear.
Scrapstore Art & Craft Shop
After choosing your Scrapstore goodies take a look round the Art and Craft Shop, where you will find a variety of art equipment and materials at competitive prices. Then let your child turn yesterday’s discarded waste into something totally unique. You may be surprised at just how much enjoyment they get from the experience – and maybe they will too!
The Scrapstore is located in City Works, Alfred Street, Gloucester. Please take a look at the Scrapstore website for full details of types of membership available, opening times and how to become a volunteer.
© The Gloucestershire Oracle