Guernsey would benefit from a fabulous community repair and reuse facility

December 6th, 2010 by Rosie

AS GUERNSEY’S recycling rates rise month on month, it becomes clear that the majority of us are trying to reduce the amount of waste we send to Mont Cuet.

Although recycling is the right thing to do, an even better option is reusing and repairing objects and materials to give them a new lease of life.

Most of us know about the success of the scavenging yard at Longue Hougue, where there are always people having a rummage for anything that could be put to good use at home. But the scavenging yard is open to the elements. Once the rain falls, (not to mention the snow), many of the otherwise-useful items get ruined.

Household appliances at Furniture Now ready for a new home (click image to expand - image courtesy of Furniture Now

A fantastic addition to our waste reduction initiatives in Guernsey would be an undercover reuse, repair and reclamation centre.

This is not a novel idea. These centres are springing up all over the place and are proving to be very popular, especially in these times of increased financial hardship. An illustration of their popularity is shown by Mayor Boris Johnson’s pledge of £8 million towards a network of reuse centres in and around London.

Furniture Now's repair and reuse facility in East Sussex (click image to expand - image courtesy of Furniture Now )

Imagine an attractively-designed building at Longue Hougue that could house all the usable fittings and fixtures that come out of building sites. All the building over-orders, excess materials, door handles, light fittings, bathroom and kitchen pieces that are being replaced.

Add to that all the items on Ecycle and the BBC’s Ring and Buy show… the sofas, tables, desks and chairs. Some things would need repair.  This could provide a training opportunity. A reuse, repair and reclamation centre would be a fantastic community project.

Robert restores furniture at the Furniture Now reuse & repair facility in East Sussex (image courtesy of Furniture Now )

It could include anything that we think would assist us in our commitment to reduce the amount of unnecessary waste that we generate. It could have a community workbench that we could all use and a coffee shop upstairs where we could enjoy the views towards Herm.

It could be a place that we all desire to visit to look for that bargain.

I know that I would be there as soon as the doors opened.

4 Responses to “Guernsey would benefit from a fabulous community repair and reuse facility”

  1. Richard Lord

    Reuse and repair facilities are springing up all over Europe and the United States.

    If Guernsey didn’t have an indoor repair and reuse centre our community would be on a diminishing list of communities that didn’t.

    A European Network of reuse and repair facilities can be accessed from the RReuse website:

    In the UK there are many reuse and repair facilities.

    For furniture visit: Click on ‘Donate Furniture’ in the blue column on the left of the page and then click on a region on the map of the British Isles on the right side of the page to see a list of Repair and Reuse facilities for each county in that region.

    Good Old Furniture Available (GOFA) is also a useful website:

  2. Tani

    I think it’s an excellent idea. Through an inherited illness I am on a very low income and I rely on jumble sales, charity shops and the like a great deal. It’s heartbreaking to see something at Longue Hougue that could have been of real use ruined by exposure to the elements.

    Also, it would be an idea to employ someone to collect and deliver items for a reasonable fee. It can cost a great deal to have something delivered and has often put me off accepting some needed, but bulky item in the past as I simply cannot afford to pay someone to bring it home for me unless I can get it in a friend’s car (as I have never either had or wanted a car for myself).

    I do hope that something gets done about this. I think that Rosie’s vision of everything being centralized in an attractive building is good in so many ways and would be of real benefit to the poor of the island. And perhaps ‘Welfare’ could be relocated in a quiet and not too obvious corner there, as I’ve always felt too embarrassed and ashamed to be seen to go there in its present and past locations, even though I need the little bit of extra help they can provide, especially the bag of coal in this freezing weather.

  3. rosie dorey

    Tani… why don’t you write your feelings and thoughts about this into PSD and even into the Press where your point of view will be seen by lots of people. The more we get the idea out there, the more likely we are to have it. I can’t find anyone who doesn’t get excited by the idea and several who say they have been wanting this for years.

    If PSD are true to their word in creating a waste strategy that is centred on the ‘waste hierarchy’ then there really cannot be any excuse not to include a Re-use, Repair and Reclamation Centre. However, it would be a mistake to think that that means we will get one. Right now, I don’t think the signs are looking good.

  4. Tani


    I would put myself with those who get very excited about the idea. I have also been dreaming about something like this being done for many years which is why I was so happy to read your article. It made sense in every way, and I agree that PSD have no excuse not to include this centre in their future plans. But, from past experience about the way things work over here, I am not hopeful either.

    Many years ago I used to stand up and be counted, but then I learned the hard way that if you do this as an ordinary Sarnian, without power or money behind you, those who object to what you’re saying have ways of silencing you which cannot be fought against in any way. I know that writing a letter to PSD isn’t on the same level, but I have avoided anything but the most necessary contact with any States department for two decades now.

    I have been in a state of learned helplessness. Watching what has been happening to Guernsey over the years has broken my heart. Nothing I ever tried to do in the past made any difference except that in the end the repercussions hurt me and my family for many years, so I retreated from any kind of public interaction and created a perfect world for me and mine behind closed doors instead. And there I have stayed, not knowing what has been going on outside.

    But then I took a look outside my door this year and was amazed to find all kinds of people I’d never heard of who were speaking out and actually working hard to get things changed. I can’t tell you just how happy this has made me. In spite of feeling deep scepticism (born of all those years of seeing how great ideas get squashed by the powers that be over here) I feel real hope that things can change for the first time in so long.

    I have also been offered several chances to help preserve both the environment and Bailiwick history in small but significant ways behind the scenes, which is where I prefer to stay from now on.

    I have had nothing to do with the Guernsey Press for many years as I don’t agree with the way that they report what is going on in Sark, so I can’t honestly use them to express my views now.

    I’m sorry that I can’t be of more help. This feels like a safe space to express one’s views in; I can’t feel the same about other platforms. But should the project go ahead, I would like to help in any behind-the-scenes way I can. I don’t have much time to spare, but would be willing to volunteer a little time each week for something I believe in so much.

    A thousand thanks for what you, Richard Lord, and your other colleagues are doing on behalf of those of us who don’t have a voice. It is appreciated from the heart.

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