We have found that donations come to us in many, many different guises.
Initially, we set out to show how discarded fabric items can be given a newlease of life. We were able to do this in our second chance haberdashery in Sutton Coldfield Town Centre prior to the Lockdowns of 2020.
We offered a space in which to experiment with textiles and machinery, techniques and skill based workshops as well as a retail space for off cuts, unused pieces and harvested accessories.
Our scrap barrels allow local seamstresses to donate their cuttings which we repackage and sort into project kit form and give to charities locally for counselling sessions.
We save the unwanted opened packages from some large homeware retailers in the town centre and have repurposed them into ponchos, onesies, soft theraplay bean bags and even an under bunk bed den.
We have taken beads, sequins, embroidery and embellishments from items which can no longer be worn and given them new life in Make your own kits as well as in children’s learning environments. We have stripped zips, buttons and hoods to make hedgehog sleeping bags and face shields. We have unpicked half knitted looms and retrieved the wool for needle felting kits. Pieced together tiny pieces of yarn that are good for nothing to make multicoloured Pom poms for bunting and door wreaths. We have collected sleeves and socks, cutting them into hoops and making them into washable scrubbing pads for home cleaning. The remaining textile has been reused in children’s workshops in the beautiful setting at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens, at playgroups and in schools to learn about reducing consumption and training young people to think outside of the norm.
Through our Clothes Bank at the Town Hall, Garment Grab, Dignity bags for rough sleepers and Street Angels we have rehomed unwanted clothing that was heading for the bin.
We offer a referral request service for all the local charities within the Birmingham City Council Early Help Partnership, of whom we are a member, to ask whenever they need clothing and it is delivered without judgment.
We have helped rough sleepers, those who are unexpectedly redundant, families with school uniform and some victims of domestic violence fleeing their home. We have reclothed, through washing, upcycling, mending and repackaging garments to make them sought after and desirable.
In short, we accept and are inspired by your textile donations. Our projects are born of what we receive, textile artists and volunteers spend hours unpicking, pattern matching, colour and texture spotting, to carefully stash your trash.
We currently store all your donations across two units and the UP Shack.
Items are sorted methodically, for example.
Halloween costumes, easter craft and easy themed items are removed and stored with a reminder that they exist in a box of their own on the preloved calendar. This serves as a quick and easy way to remove bulk until it’s commercially viable to retail it or create with it. We successfully stashed your Christmas jumpers from the Garment grab in September and then in November our volunteers uploaded them to ebay and loaned them through our Wear and Share.
All curtains and measured and photographed then stored. We often get very specific requests for curtains and so this means we know. Exactly what we do have and can donate or sell accordingly.
Textured fabrics of all sizes
What a commodity! Felt, fur, leather, silks, are all individually boxed and stored for specific projects. Often in colour and or style, this makes it particularly easy to be inspired when a project reveals itself. For example one of our volunteers wished to make Gonks for Christmas and we could immediately get a box of natural fibres in a colour scheme she loved.
Vintage Books and Patterns
We keep and are currently planning a digital documentation of our donated resources. We want to make these available to all UP Makers and UP Skillers as a free resource to inspire, encourage and instruct.
In short, there is very little that we haven’t found a purpose or intention for as yet. However, we do like a challenge so we are open to your surprise donations!
Email Preloved@theupcreativecommunity.org To arrange collection or drop off.