Up and down the country, there are thousands of people doing good deeds every day, and we decided to celebrate the great work that charities undergo with a regular feature on Tuesdays, to tie-in with #CharityTuesday on Twitter. This week, we caught up with Dorset Scrapstore to find out more...
Where are you based and what geographical areas do you support people in?
We are based in Poole, Dorset, where we have a retail store open to the public. Our members come mostly from all over Dorset and also from Hampshire.
How do you support people?
We offer low cost arts and crafts materials to families, groups, such as Brownies and church groups, and schools. Our van driver collects from local industries where they would be putting these materials into landfill sites. We encourage the whole community to reduce waste, reuse items, and recycle by promoting environmental awareness and creativity.
How did the charity come to be founded?
The Dorset Scrapstore was started in 1999 in Kingston Maurward College. A couple of us discovered the wonderful Scrapstore movement and although there were about 100 of them through the country, there wasn’t one in the whole of Dorset. As we were looking for work, we decided we ought to set one up!
How many people do you have working at the charity?
We have a Store Manager and 6 members of staff who all work part-time. We also have a team of 7 Volunteers who help out in the shop and we have young people with special educational needs from local schools and colleges help us during term time. The shop is a very busy environment and we couldn't run it without their help.
How can people support you?
They can support us by becoming a member of the Dorset Scrapstore as a membership is required to come and shop with us, details here http://dorsetscrapstore.org.uk/?page_id=27
We are always looking for new businesses to donate materials. Information on the types of materials we need are on our website http://dorsetscrapstore.org.uk/?page_id=43
We also take personal donations of arts and crafts materials, which could include knitting wool, fabric, card making supplies, the list is endless!
We have a very active Facebook page where people can engage with us and the community, share photos of what they have made and see what new materials we have had in. https://www.facebook.com/DorsetScrapstore
We also receive donations through Easyfundraising which supports charities through online sales from major retailers, it's very easy to sign up https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/dorsetscrapstore/
Volunteering is a great way to support the Scrapstore, and we have many opportunities http://dorsetscrapstore.org.uk/?page_id=39
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Getting the idea of a Scrapstore understood by those with the ability to fund us and by the general public, across a county that hadn’t heard of one, was very hard – especially as it wasn’t for making money, and involved ‘scrap’ that was neither scrap metal nor domestic rubbish. 'Scrap' is the term used for the waste materials we collect from industry.
Finding premises that were both affordable and available for more than a short while – we couldn’t risk becoming an itinerant Scrapstore, constantly on the move.
Do you have any events coming up and where can people find out about these events?
We run Family Workshops and Adult Workshops alternate months at our premises, these are available to all our members. The details for these are on our Facebook page and our website.
Is there any advice you could give to other agencies?
Research your market thoroughly, including existing provision and its history, or lack of it and the reasons why; identify the need, and how to make it pay for itself!