R:evolve Recycle is a unique project managed by LEAP, a charity that works to enhance the lives of older people across Scotland through volunteering, learning, socialising and befriending. R:evolve’s goal is to reduce clothing consumption, cutdown carbon emissions and decrease landfill waste by offering a range of services based on the stories, skills and experiences of older people which prolong the life of clothes. We do this by bringing back some good old-fashioned ideas like swapping, sharing, mending and making. We have four main aspects of our project, all of which are delivered by a mix of volunteers and staff.
From sewing, alterations and basic repairs to creative upcycling, there is something for everyone at R:evolve. We hope that if people can learn to repair or alter their clothing, they will be less likely to buy new. We also want to show people that the clothing we already have can be revolved into something new and that’s where our upcycling classes come in. Our workshops are delivered in our shops by volunteer R:evolve Learn Tutors.
Our swap shops give people the opportunity to access new-to-you clothing for free! Customers bring in clothing that they no longer love so it can be re-loved by someone else. Everything works on a points-based system; you are given a membership card and collect points for the clothing you bring in and use these points to take other items away. We have three swap shop boutiques located in Rutherglen, Cambuslang and Hamilton and they are run by volunteer Swap Shop Assistants.
Community Clothing Bank
Our Clothing Bank assists people in the community who find themselves in difficulty and are in need of clothing. Clients are referred to our Clothing Bank from agencies such as social work, foodbanks, or local charities. Individuals referred through the Clothing Bank do not need to have items to swap or points on a membership card, they are simply given what they need for free. We have established links with local food banks and have “take me for free” clothing rails in various locations for service users there to get access to the clothing they need.
To spread R:evolve’s message, we regularly take part in partnership activities with other organisations. This could include delivering bespoke workshops or pop-up swap shops for youth groups, in colleges or in sheltered housing complexes or delivering presentations about fashion and the environment to local groups. We have previously worked with other projects to put on events such as upcycled fashion shows as well as textile and climate change show case events across Scotland. Both our Clothing Bank and community activities are delivered by staff and R:evolve Ambassador volunteers.
R:evolve Recycle annual report
Read our CCF report for 2020 here.