Make Do & Mend
7-9pm Monday May 16th
Duns Volunteer Hall
On Monday 16th May, Greener Duns held its first ever event. We wanted to find out what appetite there is in Duns for repairing and upcycling stuff.
What we did
Identified people already involved in repairing and the circular economy and asked them to join us. We did lots of planning, booked the venue, baked cakes and publicised via Facebook, Instagram, posters and fliers around the area, and a Radio Borders interview.
About 60 – half Greener Duns members and family and stand holders, half members of the public.
All the speakers were very engaging and interactive using quick quizzes to keep us all entertained!
Eloner Crawford chair of Greener Duns https://greenerduns.org/ introduced the event by sharing an anecdote about her Mum’s vacuum cleaner which worked perfectly from the 1950s to the 1990s with repairs and servicing from Mr Walthew. It probably would have gone on longer if he hadn’t retired!
Ray Georgeson from Zero Waste Scotland https://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/ summarised the impact on the planet of consumerism and concluded that we need to rethink how we consume and move from valuing consumerism to valuing services like repair and upcycling (over 100,000 sofas that could be re-used are thrown away each year in Scotland), and share stuff (power drills are used for an average of 13 minutes in their life-time!)
Sue Briggs Director of The General Store, Selkirk https://generalstoreselkirk.org/ – the most common item brought in for repair is lamps, then textiles (especially zips), garden tools. They’ve just started repairing IT equipment. If you can carry it over the threshold, they will take a look!
Nicola from ReTweed https://www.retweed.com/ – they have recently started repair workshops around the Borders and recommended website www.repairwhatyouwear.com for short tutorials on repair techniques. Great quotes: “Waste isn’t waste until we waste it”; “To repair something (anything) in the modern world is a defiant act, which flies in the face of consumerism and what it stands for” (Molly Martin, author of The Art of Repair)
Karen Birch from Abundant Borders http://abundantborders.org.uk/ talked about their community gardens and the art of composting using food waste
Greg Steel from Borders College https://www.borderscollege.ac.uk/ ran through the many free green skills training courses they are offering for a range of trades
Recently established Music Broth https://www.musicbroth.org/ has rapidly gone from 8 to 2000 instruments in their library including a PA system to help out new bands. They would be happy to set up a Music Broth branch in Duns if we can provide the links. Two instruments were donated at our event.
Juliana Amaral from BAVS https://www.bavs.org.uk/ talked about their plans to promote re-use at their 3 charity shops and also their initiative at Duns Recycling centre to divert a range of good from the general waste stream (link to details)
One of the things we wanted to do at the event was ask people about their attitudes to repair and whether they would use a repair service. We designed a questionnaire: 33 were completed on the night and 10 at the U3A event the next day – if you haven’t completed one yet, please get in touch and we can send one out to you – we need the responses to justify any funding application to take this work forward.
In addition to those representing the speakers, there were 3 further stands:
Keeping Duns Blooming Marvellous https://www.facebook.com/keepingdunsbloomingmarvellous/ had some great examples of reusing stuff – the grape carton and toilet roll mini propagator
Berwickshire Swap https://www.facebook.com/berwickshireswap/who run childrens clothes swaps around Berwickshire helping families make more sustainable choices.
Blythe and Bonnie https://blythandbonnie.co.uk/ had some great examples of their re-usable products including sandwich wraps in a range of textiles
The event proved to be really useful for networking between the standholders as well as members of the public. After one presentation, someone said “we need to have a conversation”! Many were meeting each other for the first time – without the pandemic they might have met before. There was a real sense of joy about being able to talk to people face to face – one presenter said it was so great to be in front of real people.
Member of public :
“Really enjoyed the Make Do & Mend event last night. Well done to all involved. Came away inspired to be and do better for our planet”
“It was very encouraging to see so much interest in the circular economy. Great event.”
“…loved meeting you all, and it was a really great positive event. Well done to you all for organizing”
“Keep in touch everyone, for any joint working possibilities…and happy to help Greener Duns as it develops, great bunch of fired up people for change you have there.”
“Keep up all the amazing work everyone, we know how hard it can be at times, but it’s great to see positive folks on the same path.”