June 2017

The sun is well and truly shining on Leith when Can Do Places pitches up at the Edinburgh Remakery, the social enterprise which recently celebrated its first anniversary, having opened for business at 127 Leith Walk (somewhat ironically in former Santander bank premises) in May 2016.

Described elsewhere as a “re-use and repair superstore”, aiming to “reinvent second-hand shopping and repair skills in the city”, it transpires that only the word “superstore” is something of an exaggeration.

Sophie Unwin

Sophie Unwin outside the Remakery

The Edinburgh Remakery which is supported by funding from Zero Waste Scotland and City of Edinburgh Council, is the High Street face of Remade in Edinburgh, the social enterprise founded by Sophie Unwin in 2011 with the aims of promoting repair, reuse and recycling in the community, and zero waste.

Previously involved in setting up a remakery in London (the Brixton Remakery), Sophie had been inspired by a year spent in rural Nepal where, as part of a household of six people: “we created less than a dustbin of rubbish in a year. And if our precious stove broke down, it would be fixed locally.

“When I got back to London, it struck me that people with fixing skills were not valued as much as they should be. This seeded the idea for creating a reuse and repair centre, with a business model of repair education.”

Fast forward, then, to present day Leith . . . where the sun is still shining and a steady stream of customers are  visiting the Remakery where, like a normal charity shop, there is very affordable repaired and refurbished furniture for sale (£10 for a chair, anyone?) but, unlike a normal charity shop, there is also refurbished tech equipment for sale (including lap tops, keyboards and . . . OMG: an Apple mouse for just £8 and I just paid £40 for a new one!!!!) and, very unlike a normal charity shop, you can see, through a viewing wall, what’s going on in the woodwork repair room.

Some of the many workshops in action

One customer who had come in looking for a desk also signs up for a repair surgery for her laptop which has developed a glich and she wants to find out how to sort it. She also picks up info about an Introduction to Sewing workshop.

People with fixing skills are not valued as much as they should be. Click To Tweet

Another customer buys some tech stuff but, while chatting to staff member Stephanie (a full-timer who formerly worked as a fashion PR), learns that he can drop in later in the week for a talk about volunteering for the organisation. “This could be something I could do while I’m looking for a job” he explains.

More info about the Edinburgh Remakery on: www.edinburghremakery.org.uk