Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Value of Scrap

When I was little, I used to watch a TV programme called Bitsa. It was brilliant. The entire programme centered around the stuff you could make from the stuff that was around. As I child I was inspired by it, and most than anything in the world, I wanted to have boxes and boxes of stuff to build with. Bit like what you could do with all the loose parts at a Pop-Up Adventure Playground really! Just watching the programme again now reminded me of just how much I love scrap material, and just how much I was floored when I discovered Scrapstores!

Scrapstores are all over the UK. They disguise themselves as resource centers, or art shops, or community bases, or education supply stores, but there is one thing they have in common: scrap. They gather unwanted materials that factories, warehouses and shops would otherwise throw away and sell cheaply along to people who can reploy it for greatness! Those people might be teachers, art students, playworkers, parents... anyone really. And there can be no customer that's more enthusiastic than me! Haha!

I've visited quite a few Scrapstores in my playworking life. I blogged about going to one in Yeovil, and one that's kinda close to me in Salford, but my favourite scrapstore was in Rochdale - where I was a playranger. The last time I tried to visit though, I discovered that it had closed, and I was super sad.


Remember the free fabric I got? Well I put word out there to all the scrapstores to tell them it was available, and it turns out that my favourite scrapstore had moved! They got in touch and they wanted some fabric so I took the opportunity to get a tour! Here are some photos of the new place:

202/365 - Zan rediscovers her wonderful scrap paradise!

Look at the scrap area - it's on the top floor of the building, but oh it brings me so much joy! Hello loose parts! :)

There's string and buttons, and books and paper.

Look at the rolls of film, and paper, and material and foil. Just imagine all the play opportunities we can provide with a some coloured film!

There's the supply section too - here is the craft paper, of every type!

And here's the painting supplies - so many, so much!

And there's a story to tell. This poor scrapstore had to close it's doors in Rochdale in the face of the economic downturn. The owners could have left it to die though. They could have turned their backs on the scrapstore world to go in pursuit of other avenues. Instead they looked at all the things that they learned, and simply started again. Now they're back and to me, they are bigger and stronger. Their funding now comes from many sources, one of which I think is marvellous and pictured here:

This is their permanent crafter's market. They charge a small fee to hire out each space, and help them to sell. I think it's inspired.

I genuinely impressed and happy for M24 Arts. And I'm so excited that the scrapstore is even closer to me. Yes, they have had to disguise themselves as an art store, and no, they don't have the ceiling space and vastness of the old place, but boy have they made a comeback! I'm going to work out some ways that Pop-Up Adventure Play can work with them because their downsizing has meant that they don''t offer as many training packages as before, but that's okay, cos we can help! Hoorah! 

Everyone needs to go down there and visit, and everyone needs to spread the word that despite the schlump in the economy, great things can still grow. What a great model for practice! And the sheer fact that they are doing well tells me that there's value in scrap. And scrap has value in play. Therefore all of this is awesome. It's not all doom and gloom in the play world. Hoorah for M24 Arts, and hoorah for available play resources!


  1. It is a fabulous place with so much more than you can imagine in it! It's well worth a visit

  2. hear hear.......a most fabulous place..... and reading this reminds me that I am Well overdue a visit again!

    1. Yes yes, great place to visit! I recommend everyone to go! :)


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