The Covid-19 lockdown has led to so many challenges across Scotland, but many CRNS members have been responding strongly to these needs. Despite facing an almost overnight loss of trading income many community resources organisations have been pivoting their efforts to support those who are isolated or are particularly vulnerable during the Covid-19 lockdown.
In this new series of Lockdown Conversations, our CEO Michael speaks to some CRNS members about how they have been supporting their communities through this difficult time.
First up, Steph from the Edinburgh Remakery.
Who are Edinburgh Remakery?
The Remakery are an environmental social enterprise based in the Leith area of Edinburgh. They are committed to reducing waste and preventing pollution by teaching repair and reuse skills. They also take in unwanted reusable second hand goods and repair and refurbish them and sell them on to generate an income or give them to people who cannot afford them.
What was the impact of Covid-19 on the Remakery?
The lockdown caused the Remakery to shut down all their trading income streams at the end of March. However it also provided an opportunity to re-evaluate everything they were doing and focus on what was most important.
As a team they were able to consider how they could support the most vulnerable in their community. A clear need was identified whereby vulnerable individuals and groups were unable to access much needed information online. This resulted in them being cut off from online healthcare, employment opportunities, education or even the news.
What was their response to isolation needs?
Because they had been refurbishing IT equipment already they were able to step up this area of work quickly bringing staff back from furlough. They got all of their stock out to those who needed it specifically targeting those who were socially isolated and suffering from digital poverty. They also take donations from individuals and businesses of their old IT equipment.
They have provided over 100 laptops and PCs through 20 different community organisations already.
The family that received the laptop are absolutely delighted with it. It has made a huge difference… Educational resources are far easier to use on a laptop than on a smartphone, and they can also look at things together on the laptop screen.
Suszanne Quinan, Canongate Youth
What are the environmental benefits to this work?
Diverting waste from landfill and the resulting pollution is central to what the Remakery are all about. E-waste is very hazardous to the environment and a lot of precious metals are lost. So far 818 kg of e-waste have been diverted from landfill.
What is needed going forward?
We need to see more focus and funding put into repair and reuse. Both to support the organisations that are delivering these services but also promoting this to become more mainstream among the public.
As we look beyond Covid, and focus on recovering the economy and jobs, it is vital to prioritise reuse and repair which are proven to create jobs.
Reuse and repair help not only combat the climate emergency they also contribute to the essential recovery from the Covid-19 emergency.