BUILDING A STRONGER COMMUNITY
At the Edinburgh Remakery we are committed to providing support and help to those in our community who need it most. All our profits go back into pursuing our ongoing mission of reducing waste by repairing and refurbishing goods and making repair skills accessible to everyone and anyone, and providing services to support members of the community through our #RemakeADifference projects.
In 2020, the world was shaken by the coronavirus pandemic which left vulnerable individuals and communities even more at risk. This year we hope to expand our work in the community in the hopes we can #RemakeADifference to even more lives and help create a fair, equal, and supportive community with sustainability at its heart.
CURRENT COMMUNITY PROJECTS
Ending Digital Poverty
When Covid-19 struck the Edinburgh Remakery was suddenly met with the prospect of impending closure as all income streams dried up overnight.
We quickly pushed the panic and uncertainty aside and started looking at our community to see what we could do to continue helping and supporting those that needed it. It didn’t take long for covid-19 to hit those already disadvantaged and vulnerable, and hit them the hardest. One of the most pervading issues that quickly came to the fore was the threat of digital exclusion and social isolation, most especially for individuals and families left with little to no income as a result of lockdown, and no means to support themselves.
One of our most developed and thriving departments is in IT refurbishment and repair, which gives us the ability to take in secondhand laptops, computers, ipads, you name it, and give them a new lease of life. Not only does the fixing of old and damaged equipment have an environmental benefit – ewaste is one of the most hazardous polluters on the planet – but for us it also has a social benefit; since launching our Laptops for Refugees project in 2018 we have pledged to gift a portion of our repaired equipment to those who otherwise couldn’t afford them.
It very quickly became clear that this service would be even more needed in the current climate, and so we put all of our time and effort into growing this operation so that we could provide more people in need, more families and individuals, with free laptops and computers so that they could access healthcare, education, the job market, and stay connected with the outside world and loved ones, helping to alleviate social isolation and digital poverty for many in one fell swoop.
Since the end of March 2020, we have successfully set up a contactless donations drop-off area at our hub on Leith Walk where members of the public can safely bring along and donate IT equipment and electronics Monday-Friday 11am-3pm. We have launched our IT Disposal and Refurbishment Service for Businesses, to encourage local organisations to donate their old equipment to us to refurbish and gift to others. And we have built partnerships and bridges with other charities, social enterprises and community groups across Edinburgh to ensure that the equipment our technicians are busy refurbishing reaches those who need it the most.
So far we have gifted well over 100 laptops and PCs to people in need across Edinburgh, in partnership with fantastic charitable and community initiatives such as People Know How, Citadel Youth Centre, Bridgend Farmhouse, Dr Bells Family Center and Volunteer Scotland, and will continue to offer this help and support to those who need it for as long as its needed.
PREVIOUS COMMUNITY PROJECTS
Laptops for Refugees
We have been running our Laptops for Refugees project in partnership with the Edinburgh Council’s Refugee Resettlement Programme since 2018. The support we receive from the City of Edinburgh Council has enabled us to gift 82 laptops and 60 monitors to refugees and asylum seekers over the past two years.
These pieces of essential IT equipment are gifted for free to vulnerable individuals and families in the community who come to the UK to start a new life, and whose lives would be vastly improved with this simple gift and who would not otherwise be able to afford them.
In this way we are supporting those who otherwise would not have access to vital services such as healthcare, the job market, and education; not have the opportunity to reconnect with friends and loved ones; and not be able to research local services and groups and become a part of their local communities.
Teaching young people IT skills
As of 2019 we are working with Edinburgh Project SEARCH (EPS) to offer internships to young people with recognised disabilities, giving them the opportunity to learn valuable IT refurbishment and repair skills in a supportive environment, and help them gain access to the job market.
Stephen McWhirter started his internship with the Edinburgh Remakery in December 2019, learning how to dismantle donated computers and laptops to perform basic repairs and refurbishments, sort and recycle all the component parts to ensure nothing goes to waste, and use various parts to repair items to resell at the Edinburgh Remakery community hub or gift to others as part of our Laptops for Refugees project.
“I like getting one to one support and my supervisor at the Edinburgh Remakery has been really supportive and is always there to help me if I need it. Working at the Edinburgh Remakery is helping me to build my confidence. I love finding out more about computers, it’s helping me to decide what I might do as a future job.”
Stephen McWhirter, IT repair intern
Edinburgh Pad Project
The Edinburgh Pad Project was created by the Edinburgh Remakery in 2018 to teach people how to make their own sustainable, zero waste and reusable sanitary pads out of recycled fabric, reducing waste and sharing valuable sewing skills at the same time.
All the pads made are constructed out of secondhand and recycled fabrics and are easy to use and washable. Workshops are held every quarter at the Edinburgh Remakery with half of the the pads made during the workshop being donated to The Homeless Period and Leith Food Bank to gift to women experiencing period poverty.
Making reusable pads with the Edinburgh Pad Project is a way to promote sustainability, save people money, and share repair and reuse skills, all whilst helping those in need.
Circular Laptops for the Citadel
The Edinburgh Remakery have been awarded a grant through the CRNS Pockets and Prospects Fund, helping to deliver a more circular economy within disadvantaged communities in Scotland.
With this funding we will be able to provide refurbished laptops to the Citadel Youth Centre Young Mums Group, and support them with additional IT repair skills and circular economy education.
Not only will this prevent these laptops from going to waste as we utilise a circular economy model of repair and re-use to refurbish them, but this collaboration will also prevent digital poverty for the Young Mums Group and aid access to healthcare, education, employment, childcare services, and more.
We’re excited to be collaborating with yet another amazing local project, both serving the community of Leith as an area of multiple deprivation, and supporting those in need.