Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2016

Our Director, Sophie Unwin, was nominated for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award last month and we’re delighted to say that she won first prize – after a tough competition having been shortlisted down from over 220 social entrepreneurs.

The prize money of £10,000 will go to seed fund a new project to help other cities set up repair centres – based on the learning and example of our work in Edinburgh. We believe that, particularly in difficult financial times, finding ways to fix and mend things and buy quality second hand goods will be an asset to other communities.

The awards ceremony took place at Lloyds Banking Group HQ in London on 2nd November, and was hosted by entrepreneur and social innovator Oli Barrett MBE, and was buzzing with a social enterprise marketplace featuring the wares of SSE students and fellows.

These were Sophie’s words on accepting the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award:

“I’m delighted to win, on behalf of the whole team, our volunteers and partners at Remade in Edinburgh and everyone who has voted to back our vision.

At the same time comparing us with the other social enterprises Dig In North WestGendered IntelligenceGenieIn TheGutterLondon Bubble Theatre – or even with the wider group, many of whom did not put themselves forward – is like comparing apples with oranges and bananas.

I’m genuinely so proud to have studied with this group of amazing people – many of whom have become friends. We share a common belief in making the world a better place, in tackling inequality and creating a fairer, greener society. We will stay in touch and continue to support each other.

Remade in Edinburgh is not just a practical project, it’s a campaign for zero waste. We want to see investment go into waste prevention, not just mopping up the problem once its created. And this analogy could cut across all the other issues that social enterprises work on: let’s back up our work with coordinated policies which invest in preventing the problems rather than curing them.

My hope is that policy makers will listen to the voice of social enterprises – not just for the solutions they can offer, but for the ways in which they represent their communities, especially in these divided times. Social enterprises come from all backgrounds, all parts of the country, and are often passionate about the issues they work on from personal experiences they’ve had. Organisations like School for Social Entrepreneurs play an amazing role in supporting individuals, and the organisations behind them.

Special shout out to Dig In North West and Gendered Intelligence whose work with military veterans and the transgender community literally saves lives.

Developing Remade in Edinburgh, and trying to increase our impact whilst creating a viable business model has been and continues to be a LOT of hard work, but it is team work, and that’s what makes it enjoyable and worthwhile.

Final shout to the team: Mario, Sotiris, Stephanie, Alex, Lee-Ann, Chris, Leon, all the incredible volunteers and tutors who do so much of the fixing, and all our colleagues at Community Help & Advice Initiative (CHAI) and The University of Edinburgh to our chair James Ranklin, to Edinburgh Council especially Gavin Corbett and Alasdair Rankin, to LUSH UK and of course to our funders at Bank of Scotland and Zero Waste Scotland.”

Once again, thank you to everyone who voted for us! We couldn’t have done it without you and we’re delighted to be able to play a part in building a market in repair education and harnessing awareness and opportunities around waste prevention in doing this.

We look forward to developing this story further with the aim of building a city with zero waste at its heart!

EU WORKERS DON’T TAKE OUR JOBS, THEY CREATE OUR JOBS

New jobs in a new green industry will benefit from immigration, says social enterprise.

Plans to replicate could see 10,000 directly created new jobs in the UK.

Remade in Edinburgh is a multi-award winning social enterprise which teaches computer, textile and furniture repair skills from the Edinburgh Remakery and runs repair and upcycling workshops and campaigns for zero waste throughout the city.

Director Sophie Unwin says “Without our 2 employees from Greece and Italy, we wouldn’t have been able to build up our computer repair business.  This in turn increases our income and allows us to run free and low cost community workshops, and support local charity CHAI (community Help Advice @ Information) to provide free furniture to vulnerable people throughout the city as part of our partnership with them, which has saved them 2 jobs, and created 3 new ones at Remade – all for British workers. It is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that EU nationals are taking our jobs: they are creating our jobs ”.

Computer Technician Sotiris Katsimbas comes from Greece where had previously worked on community education projects. He says: “Our team’s diversity doesn’t just make our business stronger, it helps bring different perspectives and build a tolerant, connected community, in which everyone can take part. We’re not about helping any one group: we’re about coming together to show that you can create business with social values at its heart.”

The values extend beyond that of community-building, they are also about a new, green business model which doesn’t cost the earth. By teaching repair skills Remade is preventing 100s of tonnes of valuable resources from going to landfill each year and helping create a new repair economy.

In the last year the business saved 200 tonnes of waste to landfill, created 7 jobs, and trained over 1,000 people.

The Edinburgh Remakery is NOW OPEN

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The Edinburgh Remakery (125-127 Lieth Walk, opposite The Bed Shop) is now open for business!

Our workshops and weekly Repair Surgery (6pm-8:30pm every Thursday) will now be held there, and the general opening times are as follows:

Monday – 12-6
Tuesday –  CLOSED
Wednesday – CLOSED
Thursday – 12-9
Friday – 12-6
Saturday – 12-5
Sunday – 12-4

Pop down to browse our selection of refurbished IT equipment, check out our new workshop space, and see what fantastic furniture we have on offer. Second-hand doesn’t mean second-best!

 

To find out more about the Edinburgh Remakery, click here.

To see what the Edinburgh Remakery are sharing on facebook, click here.

To find the Edinburgh Remakery on Twitter, click here. 

NEWS – Edinburgh Remakery Opens to the Public

Leith, North Edinburgh, 19 May 2016

Innovative new business the Edinburgh Remakery on 125 Leith Walk opens to the public this weekend offering affordable refurbished computers and furniture and repair workshops in computer, textile, and furniture techniques, as well as workstation hire.

An open day on 21 May will offer free sessions in computer repair, upholstery, pyrography  and peg loom weaving plus food from the Real Junk Food Project Edinburgh and a prize draw with gifts from local businesses including Emma Hall hairdressing, florist Garlands, Upcycled World, Leith Food Assembly, Edinburgh Tool Libary and cosmetic company LUSH, which has supported Remade in Edinburgh for years.

Remade in Edinburgh Founder and Director Sophie Unwin says: “Repair goes beyond recycling has a huge potential to create jobs[i], prevent waste and save resources[ii], and build community. Last year we diverted almost 100 tonnes of waste to landfill and created 4 jobs, this year we expect these figures to double.

We want to play a part in a radical shift to a truly green economy that isn’t dependent on fossil fuel extraction – encouraging people to think about where products come from and where they go to and shop in a new way. We’re excited to be working with University of Edinburgh and Wester Hailes Charity CHAI to open this new shop and reach many many more new people.

Remade in Edinburgh was Sophie’s brainchild, along with our sister project, the Remakery in Brixton, on her return to the UK after spending a year living in Nepal and creating less than a dustbin of rubbish. She is now working on a pilot to support other places replicate the concept across the UK, with a scale up award from the School for Social Entrepreneurs. Sophie says “I can’t take credit for all the hard work. In both cases, it has been the community’s support for a zero waste future which has brought the concept alive.”

In Edinburgh, Computer Repair Team Leader Sotiris Katsimbas has been working hard to get the shop ready. He runs Remade’s popular Dr Computer service – teaching customers computer repair skills to prevent them throwing away computers and buying new. The Remakery will also offer workshops in pyrography, upholstery, book-binding, leatherwork, and other repair techniques.

Sotiris says: “Transforming the shop has been a huge labour of love for the team of staff and our amazing volunteers. We want to encourage people to drop disposable products[iii] and have stayed true to our mission reusing materials in the build – from a workbench made from an fire old door to a till area made from old pallets. We can’t wait to open and show people that second hand isn’t second best, and fixing stuff doesn’t just save money – it’s fun too.”

The project is funded for one year by Zero Waste Scotland and Edinburgh Council – based on a business plan of being viable after one year’s trading. CHAI – for whom the project rescued a furniture project that was due to be closed – are partnering to provide furniture and the University of Edinburgh is providing computers. They are both learning from Remade in Edinburgh’s social enterprise model. City of Edinburgh Council is providing additional support in the form of a funded apprentice placement.

[i] Repairing computers creates over 100 times the jobs as recycling them (Demos)

[ii] Reusing textiles saves 11 times the CO2 as recycling them (Scottish Government)

[iii] 33% of all household appliances that are thrown away are still in working order (Scottish Government)

Remade AGM and Remakery Open Day!

The team at Remade have been working flat out organising this years AGM and launch open day for our new project, the Edinburgh Remakery, opening on Leith Walk!

 

Please come along to our AGM on Thursday the 19th of May, 5.30-6.30pm, at the Edinburgh Remakery,125-127 Leith Walk.

We’ll update on this year’s progress and next year’s plans
By joining Remade you can be part of our future
Please RSVP by emailing info@remadeinedinburgh.org.uk

Our open day is on Saturday the 21st of May from 12pm-5pm, and everyone is welcome! Turn up on the day to visit our wonderful new space, plus taster sessions in rag rug, upholstery and leather-work… plus a Prize Draw at the end of the day with gifts donated by lots of lovely local businesses. The (non-alcoholic) bar will be open…

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Remade in Edinburgh Director Sophie Unwin and Edinburgh Remakery Project Manager Caroline Malcolm.

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