All I want for Christmas is a community reuse centre

Filed in Blog by on December 4, 2010 6 Comments
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Cooperative Membership FundI’ve been a big fan of the Co-op for a number of years. They do a lot of work in the community, are owned by their members (and we get some lovely vouchers off our shopping just in time for Christmas) and have some pretty decent policies in place. They are big into climate change, have a strong fairtrade policy and use ideas like e-brochures to send to customers rather than paper ones.

Supermarkets generally get a bad name as being greedy corporations who take all they can without returning anything, but one of the Co-Ops core values which I admire the most is giving back to the communities they serve.

The Co-operative have a ‘Cooperative Membership Fund‘ which is funded by members who donate some of their share of the profits to help local communities. This year they have donated a heart-swelling £1.2 million.

This fund is available in the form of grants and any group can apply as long as the project satisfies the following criteria:

  • Addresses a community issue
  • Provides a long-term benefit to the community
  • Supports co-operative values and principles
  • is innovative in its approach

There’s one group I particularly love called ‘Incredible Edible Rossendale’ which is a community group set up to raise awareness regarding growing your own food. It helps local people grow food in shared spaces and provides free food for the community. They have 70 members ranging from young children to the elderly. Their community grant meant they could make planters, buy compost and create resource boards to keep members up to date with the latest news. There’s nothing like growing your own to reduce food waste!

In my local area I’d love to set up a community recycling project. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a long-time knicker throwing fan of Freecycle but I’d like to create a ‘real life’ place where people could take items they no longer want, which could be useful to someone else.

I’d like there to be a ‘drop in’ cafe on site; where locals could catch up with one another and perhaps tuck into home made cakes and other local food whilst forming meaningful relationships.

It would be a community reuse centre where people can either take things for free or leave a donation…

Whenever I go to the local Household Recycling Centre I feel sad about all the items which still have plenty of life left in them, yet are unwanted. From large items of furniture to children’s toys and even kitchen sinks there is stacks of stuff which is still serviceable.

What about you? Maybe there are issues in your local area that have always bothered you or perhaps you know of a local group that could do with financial help. If so, why not apply for a grant or let people who need them know? What a fantastic way to start the new year; with a grant to support your local community!

Mrs Green’s community reuse centre – it’s got a certain ring to it, don’t you think 😉

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth’s fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (6)

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  1. We are very lucky to have a reuse center which the local Native American tribe runs. It’s awesome.

  2. Jane says:

    The Council ‘Dump’ or newly branded ‘Reuse & Recycling Centre is NOT the only place for large stuff you no longer want! Sadly it is often the only place people know about to take stuff. Let’s all make sure that other places are known about and advertised especially places you can take stuff away from as well which is only sometimes the case with the Council ones. Some Councils run Give & Take Days.

  3. I like the idea and I hope your dream comes true. I am considering getting my neighbours involved in a sharing system. I would be starting small as there are only 7 units in out block of town houses but it is a start. I think it is about time I did more than just think and blog about it.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green: Hi lisa, that sounds wonderful; I know more ‘forward thinking’ places have these brilliant resources.
    @Jane: Never heard of the give and take days, Jane. I’ll keep a look out for that.
    @Colleen (365lessthings.com): THanks Colleen; I feel as you do – I blog about things, but don’t always get out and do the community thing. Maybe it could be a 2011 resolution 😉

  5. Hi Mrs Green,
    Oh God please don’t get me started on another New Years Resolution. Lets just call it a good idea to get around to next year. 365lessthings was last years resolution and although it was very successful it has sure been a big commitment at times. It has been very rewarding though and I am so glad I did it.

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @Colleen (365lessthings.com): LOL! You know, I was thinking of joining you next year, but I *am* full of great ideas a lot of the time 😉

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