In October 2014 we hosted a brand new event as part of Made in Roath festival; a giant community led swap shop called Exchange in Roath. The idea grew from a community visioning event where residents were encouraged to share their ideas for what might improve their local area and create a happy and resilient community. The idea of a fun, educational swap shop to raise awareness of the amount we throw away and aim to redistribute as much as possible was just one of many possibilities.
The first event was such a success that we ran a second event in 2015 and hope to continue to host Exchange in Roath annually. In addition, this project has inspired community groups and individuals to host their own smaller events which is helping to spread these important ‘waste not’ messages throughout communities in Cardiff and South Wales.
How did we run the project?
Throughout the project we worked closely with community members and local businesses to pull together resources and skills that would be valuable to the event.
We created a drop off point in a shipping container outside the venue where locals could donate their unwanted items in exchange for swap shop points for a week leading up to the event. This was manned by local volunteers. Then our fantastic team of volunteers then helped us to organise close to 2 tonnes of stuff in the venue which was an event itself!
On the day of our event we found a queue of people eagerly waiting and within 4 hours of opening the doors we had re-homed, re-used and re-loved more than 1.3 tonnes of stuff – saving it from landfill!
The main aim of the event was to encourage residents to swap their unwanted items such as clothes, books, toys, bikes, electronics, gardening equipment and small furnishings. In addition they could take part in workshops that demonstrated creative ways to upcycle and re-purpose their unwanted items, including screen printing, re-vamping old clothes and upcycling old junk. There was pedal powered art and a disco at well as a live junk sculpture.
This event was a partnership project with local residents working alongside Cynefin, Green City Events, YMCA, Cardiff Council and Made in Roath with funding supplied by the Big Lottery.