Children’s Scrapstore

Joanna Migdal

About 2 years ago I came across Children’s Scrapstore, a reuse charity dedicated to helping businesses divert reusable waste away from landfill or energy recovery (ie incineration) to help improve art, creativity and play opportunities for children, young people and adults. I am delighted now to be a patron of the charity.

The Scrapstore is a large warehouse full of varied, colourful and abundant scrap materials fantastic for use in creative play. For a modest annual subscription, members of the Scrapstore can select resources for their work with groups of children and adults in creative, educational, therapeutic or play settings. All of the scrap is safe surplus or redundant stock, or a by-product of manufacturing collected directly from local businesses and industry. What’s in the warehouse changes from day to day so there is always something new and interesting.

Children’s Scrapstore also have an arts and craft shop with all profits going straight back into the Children’s Scrapstore charity. It offers a massive range and variety of arts and crafts materials, suitable for all ages from early years up to professional artists.

Children’s Scrapstore is based in Bristol but there are scrapstores all over the country; you can find a list here on Reuseful UK. Individual scrapstores are all different in terms of size, membership criteria and services offered, but the fundamental idea of enabling reuse of business waste is the same. Since different areas of the country have access to different types of scrap materials, scrapstores will arrange to swap resources with each other to help bring a wide variety to all.

During lockdown the charity has been using the scrap materials and art shop stock to support people in need by providing them with activity packs. 'Staff and volunteers have designed thoughtfully curated selections of creative materials that will support people to explore, create and play. From March – August 2020, 4500 packs have been made and distributed. We have been delighted to be able to support Bristol in this way. It’s great to see materials which would be difficult to access in any other way being made available for creative use, instead of ending up in landfill'.

There have been great new partnerships and collaborations made during this period. We have been working with:

Scrapstores are amazing places, they support creativity whilst minimising waste going to landfill. Win win!

I was straight out of art school, when in 1977 I attended the first ever Art in Action show in Oxfordshire, and there met the Master sculptor under whom I served an apprenticeship for seven years. It was the most glorious show. The event was totally dedicated to the welfare and support of the artists – and the success came from that rather than just a money making event. So inspired was I by Mr Bernard Saunders who set up the show, I helped to organise and run the Sculpture section of Art in Action for very many years – it was so so so disappointing that the show closed down.

I have plans to run a 'Scrap Art in Action' festival in Bristol in a few year’s time, at the Scrapstore location, and hope that many professional artists will come and show what amazing creations can be made from the apparent scrap – and thus inspiring a new generation.

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