We’re seeing just how much donated stuff can help our local charities during these difficult times. If you’re thinking of having a summer clear-out, as well as your local charity shop or the freecycle and freegle communities (and our currently rather short donations wish list for the library), here are some organisations where your unwanted things can make a big difference.
Help homeless people and refugees build a home: Oxfordshire Homeless Movement connects all the organisations in the county helping the homeless, and has a directory of places you can donate things to. On the page above, check out their facebook groups where people request what they need, often to help a homeless person set up a new home, and members reach out to their community to source them, as well as an amazon wish list of regularly requested things.
Your old laptop, tablet or phone can get someone online: help one of the estimated 40,000 people not able to access the internet in Oxfordshire: donate an old device to Getting Oxfordshire Online. This charity partnership will securely wipe it, refurbish it and pass it on to organisations supporting people who can’t afford devices.
That unloved bikecan get someone riding: Broken Spoke or Asylum Welcome Bike project will both be grateful, whether to refurbish and donate the bike to someone who needs one, to repair for sale to fund their projects, or use for parts.
A box of old offcuts can inspire creativity:Orinoco Scrapstore in Templars Square have a fantastically eclectic mixture of all sorts of things and materials, with a mission to inspire creativity to save waste. Worth a visit (if nothing else, to see if they still have the mannequin in a fancy dress astronaut costume).
We’re aiming to build a better directory of these sorts of services on our website – if you’d like to suggest another, please do email Ben or add it in the comments below.
We’re delighted to welcome Christine as our new Library Manager. Christine is working with Ben and our fantastic volunteers to manage the Library of Things, ensuring that everyone who borrows from us has a great experience and expanding our offering as we continue to grow.
As well as her passion for sustainability and community, Christine is a big animal lover, among other things running the Crittery educational website and animal rescue. Do be sure to ask about her baby Tenrecs! (no relations to hedgehogs, apparently…)
As SHARE Oxford continues to grow, we’re delighted to be hiring a new part-time, paid role for a Library Manager. You’ll be looking after the day-to-day running of the Library of Things, delivering brilliant customer experience and a great opportunity to shape this unique community service.
We’re really pleased to be partnering with Velocity Cycle Couriers to help us offer a more robust delivery service!
Velocity Cycle Couriers is an Oxfordshire based business launched in 2022 and aiming to normalise the concept of zero carbon delivery. They operate on a fleet of e-cargo bikes and electric vans to safely deliver produce and goods across Oxfordshire in a positive way that is friendly to their customers and to our planet. We’re very grateful to them for trialling a “community” charge with us, aiming between £6 and £10 each way for deliveries in the city depending on what you’re hiring.
We’re also grateful to our volunteers who are happy to jump on our cargo bike to offer this service “in-house” where we can too. As ever, do get in touch if you’d be interested to join our cyclists WhatsApp group!
We can’t offer delivery on all our Things (for example the 4m ladders are too big for the bikes and van, and we’re not able to deliver our petrol equipment as we share the service with local food companies), but we’re looking forward to seeing how it goes and hope this helps make SHARE Oxford more flexible and useful!
A quick note to let you know we’re changing our hours on Saturday. We’re now open 10:00 to 13:00. (Thursdays are still open 12-6 as before).
We hope that the earlier start will be convenient for those collecting things, to be able to make good use of the weekend. The shorter hours also help us as we work to be financially sustainable, now we are dependent on a paid Project Coordinator. As ever, we would be delighted to hear from people interested to volunteer as librarians to enable us to open more often through the week.
Green Arts Oxfordshire Network is a community bringing the arts and cultural sector together in this climate emergency to collectively work towards climate justice and a zero carbon future. Have a look at their charter, resource kit and opportunities on their website. We are excited to meet some of key groups and organisations in this space, looking to implement libraries of things or equivalent setups to share their resources and make use of arts materials that are no longer required.
ShareBeeis a new platform offering a peer-to-peer model for sharing, making it really quick for people to set up their own libraries of things, or just share a few of their own items, either to the public or a “hive” of friends or neighbours. We’re excited about the potential for this in Oxfordshire and we feel this sort of lending could complement what we do here at SHARE Oxford well, hopefully starting with some artists sharing hives soon!
GAON will be hosting monthly online or in-person meetings open to everyone. Each month, they will explore a different creative topic with the intention of forming dedicated Action Groups that act in response to the conversation.
This first Green Arts Action Group meeting will ask: How can we share? Creatives of all kinds face challenges sourcing materials and resources for projects sustainably. Join the conversation on how we can work together to source, transport and dispose of materials sustainably and locally where possible, thinking of creative solutions and factoring this in at the project planning stage.
Whether you’re in the arts community or not, we’d be delighted if you’d like to join to discuss building our sharing community here in Oxford and beyond. And if you can’t make it, do feel free to add comments below or get in touch with ideas or questions!
As the new team settles in at SHARE Oxford, we’re really enjoying learning about all the local initiatives helping people to reduce waste and consume less. We hope that, as well as doing our bit with our Library of Things and Repair Cafes, we can develop our more ways to borrow page and become a “hub” helping people find solutions. We came up with the picture below as a view of the challenge, so we can think about where SHARE fits in and what gaps we can help people to fill.
As we pass our Third Birthday, we want to say a big thank you to Maurice, who co-founded SHARE, building up to an official launch on 16 Feb 2019. Since then, he’s continued to build a fantastic community of volunteers and sharers, as well as acquiring a unique and useful collection of things!
Having made the move to a new town, Maurice will stay involved as a director, helping guide us with his knowledge of the world of Libraries of Things and circular economy. Ben continues as Project Coordinator, and we are grateful to Chris and Philippa for joining the Board, as well as all our volunteers, meaning we have a great team to take things forward. Thank you for everything you’ve achieved, Maurice, and here’s to the next chapter!
Today makes three years since SHARE Oxford officially launched the Library of Things. That was at the end of several months of acquiring ‘things’ (thank you all those donors of their unwanted items) and a group of volunteers creating our style, and setting up processes and trialling them.
The momentum has built ever since and we’ve learnt so much since then, had a changing group of helpers, added to our stock (there are now some 750 items in the Library), and made coming up to 1,900 loans (despite the downturn during lockdown).
With yet more newer volunteers, a recently constituted Board of Directors, and the evidence that the Oxford Library of Things is a going concern, we look forward to more years – alongside that growing number of Libraries across the UK and in other countries (we look forward to more ‘twinnings’ too).