Rais­ing fash­ion stakes

Cloth­ing swap shop go­ing from strength to strength

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Dou­glas Dickie

En­vi­ron­men­tal project R:evolve Re­cy­cle opened their new Cam­bus­lang clothes shop this week.

Af­ter an of­fi­cial launch on Fri­day, the shop started trad­ing on Tues­day.

Vol­un­teers gath­ered to mark the oc­ca­sion, and the Re­former was there to find out more about the project.

It is the fash­ion rev­o­lu­tion that is tak­ing Ruther­glen - and now Cam­bus­lang - by storm.

R:evolve Re­cy­cle, the cloth­ing swap shop started by the Light­burn El­derly As­so­ci­a­tion Project, has gone from strength to strength over the past two years.

From hum­ble be­gin­nings, they opened shops in Ruther­glen, Half­way and Hamil­ton and were even held up as a clothes-lovers trea­sure trove by Re­former colum­nist Danielle Jean.

So, to see what all the fuss was about, I paid a visit to the open­ing of the new Cam­bus­lang shop to chat to the vol­un­teers who make the project tick. Started two years ago, the premise of the shop is sim­ple – mem­bers of the pub­lic can trade in their old clothes for points to be used on other items in store.

Not con­tent with mak­ing sure old clothes are re­cy­cled, they also of­fer ‘ make- do- and- mend’ classes so peo­ple can get more life out of their seem­ingly tat­tered gar­ments. But for those who vol­un­teer in the shops, there is much more to it than that.

I ar­rive to find op­er­a­tions man­ager Mel Robin­son and shop su­per­vi­sor Lisa O’Hara busy try­ing to get the shop ready for the launch on Fri­day, March 31, ahead of the open­ing yes­ter­day, Tues­day, April 4.

Both are staff mem­bers and are keen to high­light the good work car­ried out by their vol­un­teers and the part the shop can help play in the lo­cal com­mu­nity. “We had some work place­ments where they were here as part of a 30-week work place­ment,” says Mel.

“Some have been with us for two years now and quite a few have gone on to get jobs, which is great for them but bad for us be­cause they are great vol­un­teers.”

Two such vol­un­teers are pals Ann An­der­son, 71, and May Pa­ton, 73, both from Ruther­glen. They have been in­volved since the first shop opened in the town two years ago.

“It’s bril­liant,” says Ann. “You get to mix with peo­ple from the start – and you even end up get­ting their life story. “There might be peo­ple who come in and all they want is com­pany, per­haps they’re on their own and they want a wee chat, which we cer­tainly pro­vide.

“We didn’t ex­pect this to be as pop­u­lar as it’s turned out, it’s been bet­ter than we ex­pected. It’s been mas­sive since we went to Ruther­glen Main Street.”

May adds: “We ac­tu­ally have one girl work­ing with us and she was some­one who came in to the shop. Her cir­cum­stances were not good so we asked her to sign up and she did. Now she re­ally en­joys it.”

Ann and May are part of a grow­ing num­ber of peo­ple vol­un­teer­ing when they reach re­tire­ment age.

But at the other end of the age spec­trum, there are ben­e­fits as well.

For­mer Cathkin High pupil Elaine Sch­wab, 19, ar­rived at R:evolve on a work place­ment. She has since se­cured a job at BT Travel in Cam­bus­lang.

And she puts that down to the ex­pe­ri­ence she gained at R:evolve. I wasn’t very con­fi­dent but this has re­ally helped me,” she ex­plains. “I’ve learned a lot of skills like how to deal with cus­tomers and things like that. It’s good for younger peo­ple, a good start­ing point.

“The skills I learned are re­ally trans­fer­able. For ex­am­ple, I didn’t have a great deal of ex­pe­ri­ence of talk­ing on the phone and that’s some­thing I was able to pick up.”

There is much more to R:evolve than the swap shops. Their ‘make-do-and­mend’ classes have been at­tended by 600 peo­ple this year alone and are fully booked for months.

Sixty-five-year-old Jean Broad­foot has been at­tend­ing a sew­ing work­shop for six weeks. And she reck­ons the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of the classes are what mo­ti­vates her. She says: “It breaths new life into clothes I couldn’t wear any­more.

“I’m so pleased I got into this. The peo­ple I am in the group with, we have been go­ing for six weeks and we know each other now, and we’re all look­ing for­ward to learn­ing some more.

“Just imag­ine the amount of clothes you save and the amount you’re stop­ping from go­ing to land­fill.”

The pop­u­lar­ity of the classes has not sur­prised Mel. She says: “Peo­ple have skills that they have maybe lost with hav­ing a fam­ily and things like that and they want to start again.”

As well as pro­vid­ing a space where peo­ple can get new clothes or save old gar­ments, R:evolve play a vi­tal role in the com­mu­nity. They ac­cept re­fer­rals from the food bank and will start a part­ner­ship with MacMil­lan Can­cer Care who will fund work­shops, while can­cer suf­fer­ers who might have lost or gained weight through treat­ment can come in and have free reign.

But ul­ti­mately, the pop­u­lar­ity of the shop is de­pen­dent on the qual­ity of the stock. And far from be­ing just an­other char­ity shop to pick up cheap sec­ond- hand clothes, Mel reck­ons it of­fers so much more. “It’s very bou­tique. The stock we get in is re­ally very good qual­ity. We’ve got high stan­dards and the staff will only put out cloth­ing that is of good qual­ity.”

R:evolve’s Cam­bus­lang store is now open Tues­days to Fri­days from 10am-4pm. The Ruther­glen shop is open from 10am- 4pm Tues­day to Satur­day. They also have a shop in Hamil­ton.

Ready to go Vol­un­teers and friends at the shop’s open­ing


Open­ing day Vol­un­teers are ready to start at the new Cam­bus­lang store

Set­ting up Shop su­per­vi­sor Lisa O’Hara gets the new stock ready 310317re­volve_03 Ex­cite­ment Op­er­a­tions man­ager Mel Robin­son can’t wait to get started at the new R:evolve shop 310317re­volve_01

Chatty Pals Ann An­der­son and May Pa­ton love talk­ing to cus­tomers 310317re­volve_05

Ex­pe­ri­ence Elaine Sch­wab reck­ons she has learned a lot in the shop 310317re­volve_06

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