Our team here at Artisans & Adventurers is made up of a lot of creatives! We're often bringing in craft supplies to swap with one another and sharing tips we've picked up along the way. So we were all thrilled when we discovered The ScrapStore in Ramsgate, only a short distance from our Margate store! The ScrapStore at East Kent Mencap is an incredible eco-friendly initiative that saves craft supplies from landfill and sells them at very affordable prices in their store. The ScrapStore is run by members of East Kent Mencap, providing work experience and volunteer opportunities for people with learning disabilities, enabling them to build a portfolio of employability skills and find paid work. Based in Foresters Hall in Ramsgate, visitors can fill up a bow with their choice of craft supplies for a £5 donation. Craft supplies include fabric, yarn, card-making supplies, children's craft supplies, buttons, sewing patterns, haberdashery, books, magazines and much, much more. We love how accessibility and sustainability are at the heart of what The ScrapStore does, and we were lucky enough to chat with 2 members of the team, Tanya and Mary...
Can you tell us a little bit about East Kent Mencap and what they do?
Tanya: East Kent Mencap is a charity that supports people with learning disabilities and their families and carers.
Mary: East Kent Mencap’s GOLD Project supports people with learning disabilities who might not otherwise have support. They run social activities and meetings like our Crafternoons. This helps to reduce isolation and maintain friendships.
How would you describe the ScrapStore in your own words?
Tanya: The ScrapStore @ EKM sells all kinds of materials for making craft stuff. It’s cheaper than going to the shops and it raises money for the charity.
Mary: The ScrapStore @ EKM is heaven! It’s a godsend for crafters, knitters, crocheters... It stocks craft materials destined for landfill at a fraction of the cost while raising money for East Kent Mencap. It also provides the materials needed for the Crafternoons and puts kits together for our members to try something new.
What are your roles at the ScrapStore?
Tanya: I am the admin assistant. I record all of the donations we receive on a spreadsheet so we know how much we’ve saved from landfill.
Mary: I am a ScrapStore @ EKM volunteer and I support Ann-Marie to carry out her role as a ScrapStore @ EKM Assistant – she processes all of the donations we receive and then we sort them and put them in the ScrapStore. I enjoy helping people to find what they need when they visit.
How long has the ScrapStore been running?
Tanya and Mary: We started collecting donations during the first lockdown in the Summer of 2020. We started off by putting baskets together for people and making contactless deliveries and collections, and we welcomed our first visitors to the ScrapStore @ EKM in August 2021.
How many craft supplies do you think you’ve saved from being thrown away?
Tanya: We have just worked out that we have saved almost 2 metric tonnes from landfill since we started collecting in the summer 2020!
What is your favourite thing about the ScrapStore?
Tanya: Working on the computer.
Mary: It’s nice to give something back to the community in a relaxed environment. I feel appreciated. It’s also nice to meet the members and staff, and of course the customers. We try to remember what visitors are interested in so if we get a donation they’d like we tell them when they next visit. And of course it’s great to be one of the first people to see all the donations!
Do you have any favourite scrap-busting crafts people can try at home?
Mary: Oh there’s so many! Mixed media collage is good because it uses all different types of paper and fabric to get lots of texture. I also think decoupage is great because you can use what you already have at home, for example you could use old calendar images or printed serviettes to upcycle a tea tray or side table. I also really like making new candles by saving the last of the wax from burnt down candles and melting it all together. I add essential oils and pour them into jam jars with a wick attached to the bottom of the jar.
How can people donate their own craft supplies?
Tanya and Mary: Check our social media pages (Instagram.com/scrapstore.ekm) or add Amy as a friend on Facebook to receive updates on when our donations are open (facebook.com/amyjohnsonekm). You can also join our mailing list, or email Amy to check we can accept what you would like to donate (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Mary: I am really looking forward to seeing how the ScrapStore @ EKM grows and sharing it with more people.
A huge thanks to Tanya and Mary for taking the time to speak with us! To find out more about The ScrapStore & to make a donation to East Kent Mencap, click here.