Tuesday 30 July 2013

Celebrating creative upcycling and crafts at Children's Scrapstores

rows of colourful paint bottles at bristol's children's scrapstore

When I was a child I loved nothing better than making stuff out of bits and bobs destined for the bin. I cannot count the number of cardboard box, tin foil, loo roll monsters I made when I was little. A pile of cardboard, string, glue and poster paints fired up my imagination and made me think ‘what shall I create today?’

Across the UK there are a network of Scraptores UK that continue the tradition of helping children to use their imaginations and create something with their hands. Each scrapstore is a treasure trove of clean scrap waste materials donated by business to be reused by local children in whatever way their creative urge takes them. The range of materials in any of the scrapstore changes each day and could include card, paper, textiles, paint, cork, wool, cardboard tubes, netting, gauze and many other things.

Scrapstores promote ‘play without rules’ and understand the importance of creative play in a child’s development. Every child needs to have the chance to squish clay, get covered in paint and look at a pile of scrap and think ‘what could I make with that?’ Scrapstores offer affordable craft materials to a wide range of bodies working in education, training, arts and culture, environment and conservation and projects involving children and young people. By taking familiar objects we all recognise from everyday use and encouraging children to use them in new and unusual ways, Scrapstores foster creative expression. The organisation has already helped out over 80,000 community groups by providing access to an exciting variety of materials.

Whilst local branches operate as separate entities, ScrapstoresUK was set up in an attempt to coordinate the work that individual scrapstores do across the UK. ScrapstoresUK acts as a champion for the movement and raises public awareness, facilitates fundraising and attempts to make each scrapstore run in an effective and efficient way. They also offer a useful online directory of all the scrapstores, so if you feel inspired to find out more, their website will have all the information you need to track down your local store.

All Scrapstores have different means of accessing their scrap materials. In some you need to pay an individual membership fee, at others you simply pay for the scrap you take on the day. Membership is generally offered to groups who work in creative play, care, educational and therapeutic settings. A number of Scrapstores also have shops open to the public selling good quality art and craft materials from glue to paintbrushes to complement the scrap.

colourful decorations in children's creative area in artrageous art supplies shop

We paid a visit to my local scrapstore which is based in Bristol to find out more about the work they do. The Bristol Children's Scrapstore is one of the oldest in the UK and has been open for over thirty years. To access the main scrap warehouse you need to be a member, but the Bristol branch also operates a craft supplies store called Artrageous Store which is open to the general public. Artrageous is a thriving business where you can find a wide selection of goods including art supplies such as glue, paint and modelling clay, they also stock puppets, wooden toys and musical instruments. Every other weekend Artrageous throws open its doors and invites children to come along and try out the craft materials. These ‘Super Saturday Sample Sessions’ encourage children to gain hands-on experience of creating a finished crafty item from scratch. The friendly staff encourage kids to get their hands on raffia, felt, glitter, crayons and lots of gloopy glue. All the proceeds from Artrageous support the Children’s Scrapstore and help to maintain local community projects working with local children.

young girl uses scissors to create easter themed craft at children's scrapstore

Alongside Artrageous is the adjoining Children’s Scrapstore warehouse. There are an abundance of crafty delights with large containers filled with netting, colourful gauzes, plastic tubes, surgical masks, piles of remote controls, reels of sparkling paper, mounds of foam shapes, towers of take-away cartons and even the odd shop mannequin. Each item was destined for landfill and through Scrapstores it can now find a new life in a creative project.

barrels of colourful scrap materials at children's scrapstore

The Scrapstores movement is something to be cherished and supported. By encouraging creative play, children learn communication skills, creativity and problem solving, team work and collaboration and a willingness to experiment. As with all charity projects, Scrapstores needs resources to keep functioning. Whether you donate scrap, volunteer your time or become a member, there are many ways to keep your nearest branch operating. Now I’ve discovered my local scrapstore, it would take a gang of foil covered, paint daubed, googly eyed cardboard box monsters to keep me away!

all photos were taken by my niece Jessica Chappell, you can see her blog here www.kingofthesheep.blogspot.co.uk

Scraptores UK

Bristol Children's Scrapstore

Artrageous Store

If you're interested in finding more interesting children's craft projects, you may like to follow my "Kids Crafts: gluing, cutting, sticking, painting" board on Pinterest...

Follow Pouch : blogging + craft's board Kids Crafts: gluing, cutting, sticking, painting on Pinterest.

I'm linking up with these lovely blogs:

Trash 2 Treasure over on www.coombemill.com

Brilliant Blog Posts over on honestmum.com

Share With Me over on www.letstalkmommy.com

What I'm Writing over on writingbubble.co.uk


Unknown said...

We have just joined our local scrap store in Exeter and I love it! I always come home with a basket full of stuff. This week we had tons of bright coloured netting stuff. We've hung it from the plum tree in the garden. It looks really cool. BTW this weeks #ThriftyThursday is open if you would like to join in again :-)

Coombe Mill - Fiona said...

I love the idea of these stores. Thanks for looking one up for me I shall make sure I visit now, it looks like a great resource with loads of useful things I could use for craft hour here on the farm. Thank you for sharing with me on #Trash2Treasure

Let's Talk Mommy said...

What a great idea for these stores. I didn't even know I will have to check it out too. Looks fun. Thanks for linking up to #ShareWithMe.

Rebecca Ann Smith said...

I've not heard of this before - sounds like an awesome project and something my kids would love. Thanks for sharing!

Marija Smits said...

Ooh! We have a scrapstore locally and I'm a member of it. I also sometimes donate scrap too, so this blog post really resonated with me. Thank you!

Maddy@writingbubble said...

I've never heard of scrap stores before but will have to look to see if I can find a local one. I think my sons and I would all be like kids in.. a scrap store if let loose in one! Thanks for sharing with #WhatImWriting

Chrissie@muddledmanuscript said...

I've seen this before - one of the creative workhop things operates out of a community centre by where I work and I'm always tempted to pop in when the van is there (but have never had the courage).
It sounds great though. I love my kids doing arts and crafts and getting messy.

Unknown said...

This sounds like brilliant fun! I'll have to investigate whether we have one close enough to us to make a visit... x

Familymakes said...

What an absolutely great idea, I love it. I'm off to find my nearest one now!


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