Community support

Funding level: Up to £1,000


Borders Scrapstore is a resource centre (charity No. SC020023) that takes donations of suitable clean, safe unwanted materials from industry and individuals, and after assessment, cleaning and sorting, makes them available to schools, nurseries, churches, community groups and individuals for use as art, craft, creative play and educational resources. Our activities are geared towards the twin aims of reducing waste (over ten tonnes each year) and providing low-cost creative resources.
These materials are housed in our two Scrapstores, at Selkirk (main office and warehouse) and Musselburgh (a small room within The Fisherrow Community Centre). Members visit and buy resources for their projects and activities, as well as accessing advice and items from our selection of new art and craft supplies, such as paint and glue. These new materials also help us raise funds to support the re-use operation. Materials re-used include large quantities of textiles, paper products, wood, plastics, in fact anything that we and our users can give a new life to. We are extremely careful not to offer any unsafe materials, though we do urge our users to do their own risk assessments.
With some 600 memberships, about half groups and half individuals, Scrapstore has become well known for promoting re-use and creativity throughout South-East Scotland. We keep in touch with members and users through our active Facebook page -
At both Selkirk and Musselburgh, Scrapstore is a hotbed of community activity with some 10,000 visits each year; we also run occasional workshops, and attend many weekend events such as community centre family days, training sessions and open days. We are a focus for all those interested in environmental responsibility and the creative arts.
We are not recyclers, we are a re-use organisation. Recycling involves long-distance transport, (in the Scottish Borders, recyclate is transported first to Hartlepool, then overseas, which is crazy) intensive re-processing involving chemical inputs, large amounts of energy, and generates its own polluting waste. Re-use is local, involves no further inputs, and from an environmental standpoint, beats recycling every time.
One of our activities, and the major subject of this submission, is an outreach service; our van and driver visits nurseries, schools and community groups throughout SE Scotland with low-cost salvaged and new materials for projects and activities. This not only saves large amounts of money for a variety of settings, but also teaches children that it's not necessary to buy brand new resources for every activity - with help from us and some imagination, unwanted materials can live again as a jungle, a space scene, or any other educational activity. Schools and other settings can proudly say that they are helping to reduce waste and protect the environment. In East Lothian, our outreach work is subsidised by the council. We receive no such help in the Scottish Borders, the service loses money, and would use a grant to help with the approximate £3,000 cost of outreach work in that area.
Financially, we have worked hard to survive the drastic reduction in local authority support over the past few years. With three p/t staff, twelve volunteers, two premises and a van, our costs have remained fairly consistent over the past few years at about £60,000. We have increased our earned income from about £6,000 in 2005 to over £50,000 last year, and make no apologies for imaginatively marketing so called waste as a precious creative resource. We will continue to work hard to stay solvent, though we do need occasional outside help, as with this submission.
We undoubtedly make a positive difference to community life in South-East Scotland. It has been very difficult to keep going under severe financial pressure, but we know our users appreciate our offer, and can evidence this with countless messages of support.

Borders Scrapstore

Moment of Pride

We are proud to have survived under difficult financial circumstances, but mostly we are proud of our dedicated staff and volunteers, and of course our loyal, creative and environmentally responsible members and users. We are proud of our record in reducing waste, and of our contribution to the arts

Location: Scottish Borders, United Kingdom