'I soar by uplifting others': Re-Imagine Resource Centre in Witchford shows how caring for your community can change lives
PUBLISHED: 15:12 10 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:12 10 November 2018
"We are already at a crisis point with waste, so it is about realising that we can make a change and empower others."
These are the words of Ruth Marley, who runs the Re-Imagine Resource Centre in Stirling Way, Witchford.
The aim is to help save and reuse materials that would otherwise be discarded among the tonnes of waste us Brits send to landfill each day.
The building sits in a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it corner of Witchford Recycling Centre, just off the hustle and bustle of the A142.
But from the moment you step inside; the positivity and creative energy hit you like the beacon of environmental and socioeconomic change that it is.
Bunting draped from the ceiling, rolls of fabric, wallpaper, cards, buttons, ribbon, paint and stickers all form a glittery haze of happiness as crafters hunt among boxes of hidden gems.
“Most of this would be thrown away without a second thought,” Ruth explains.
“But here it can go towards helping school children with art and craft play or people who like to get their own creative juices flowing.
“We even have material left over from the Suffragette March earlier this year in London, and some of it went on to be used for the Grenfell memorial event too.”
Cassettes, candle stick holders, picture frames, nail polishes, Estée Lauder make up, John Lewis curtains and a Will Smith dvd are just some of the obscure items that can be found tucked away.
But Re-Imagine is more than just a crafting base – Ruth works with dozens of local charities, schools and colleges to educate about a future with less waste.
The ‘Community Factory’ nestled at the back of the room has donation boxes for items such as toiletries and pet food that are distributed throughout Ely and surrounding areas.
Next to this is the Re-Imagine ‘Community Larder’ – which since opening in recent weeks has seen crates of leftover food donated to help those less vulnerable.
“We had 96 crates delivered last weekend alone from companies such as Waitrose, Jacks and Tesco,” Ruth says.
“This morning I had 11 people waiting before I had even opened the door.
“There is no criteria to be met, anyone can come and leave a small donation discretely in exchange for some fruit, veggies, sauces, bread or anything else unusual that could be cooked to make a healthy dish.
“Anything left over at the end of each day goes towards Littleport Food Bank for the homeless - it is really important that nothing goes to waste.”
Since opening in 2013, Re-Imagine has seen more than 1000 regular contributors and crafters walk through the doors every month.
But bigger plans are also on the horizon, as Ruth says that the transformation of the second floor of the centre will be complete by spring next year.
“We’ll be able to run more craft workshops with schools and community groups,” Ruth adds.
“The response we have had is amazing.”
It clear that Re-imagine is so much more than just a resource centre - but a beacon in the fight against social change.
The quote ‘I soar by lifting others’ etched on a craft board bids me farewell near the exit.
Long may the rise continue.
Visit the Re-Imagine Resource Centre Facebook page for more information.