Thursday, 16 December 2010

Action 21 lose Recycle Warehouse

Action 21 have lost their bid to the council to carry on running the Recycle Warehouse at Princes Drive... That's the shocking news I read on the website last night and it has been sinking in ever since.

When I first came to Leamington the Recycle Warehouse was privately run. It didn’t have that much stuff in it, and what it did have often seemed expensive. I had just moved into a house with two young children, no furniture and very little money. I desperately needed to find a shop where I could afford to buy the stuff I needed to turn my house into a home. We were using an old plastic bit of garden furniture as our dining table, and we had no sofas or chest of drawers. Our house pretty much stayed like this until Action 21 took over the tip shop and turned it into the Recycle Warehouse. For me, it was like a dream come true and I used to go there nearly every day looking for a bargain. After about six months I had mostly furnished our house from the donations of Leamington’s wealthier residents.

Being a regular, and chatty, customer I had been spotted by volunteer Bruce who persuaded me to start volunteering at the shop. I was new to Leamington, and a stay at home lone parent, so it was great for me to have something to do outside of the home that didn't include the words nursery or playgroup. I started volunteering at the shop on Monday mornings. It’s a very active job so I always felt a bit thinner by lunchtime and uplifted from the social contact and laughs I’d had. I’d take some money with me in case I saw anything nice for my house and often came back with something new. To work all morning for nothing and then be happy to spend your money in the shop might sound strange, but I now know that volunteers are often recruited because they are great customers and that doesn’t change just because they start volunteering. If anything some probably spend more money than they did before. Talk about a win win situation for Action 21!

I’m now at the stage where I donate more stuff than I buy and, call me shallow, but I like the fact that when I drop things off there’s usually a helpful man to lift furniture from my boot. I’ve watched things I’m donating being sold again before they hit the shop floor. It’s great to see someone else being really pleased to get something you don’t want any more; my children’s highchairs, buggy’s and scooters have all gone this way and watching re-use in action like that gives me a good feeling.

Sue Ryder do palliative work with people at the end of their lives, and that needs funding, so I wish them all the best with the Recycle Warehouse. They are in receipt of a profitable up and running business that will help to pay for their important work. Our loss is their gain, and whilst it's hard for the people involved with Action 21 to let go of something they have invested so much in, I know that everyone can appreciate what Sue Ryder do.

Donators, customers, volunteers and staff have all made the Recycle Warehouse the great shop it is today, and will hopefully continue to be. Action 21's challenge is to get people to feel the same way about The Re-Useful Centre in Ramsay Road as they do about the Recycle Warehouse. So please support Action 21 to get through this loss by donating and buying from our shop in Ramsay Road. We hope to continue to develop it into something as unique as the Recycle Warehouse. With all the wonderfully creative people involved with Action 21 it’s going to be injected with a lot of energy. All we need is for people to donate their lovely things, and customers who love a bargain.