Meet the social enterprises helping to fix products, people and communities

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The Naturesave Trust funds a wide variety of projects covering renewable energy, nature conservation, sustainable food and social welfare.  Another key area of funding is recycling and repair, in this update we highlight some of the recent funding projects undertaken by the Trust.


We think repair cafes are beautiful things and we want to see one in every community, which is why The Trust was delighted to help Repair Café Wales open three new Repair Cafes and provide them with the regular personal support and materials a local group needs to establish themselves.

The concept of repair cafés started in Amsterdam, and there are now over 1,800 of them across the world.  The great thing about this simple concept is that repair cafés deliver a series of multiple benefits that really make them a win-win-win. 

Firstly they tackle our serious consumer waste problem. If we just take electronics, the world disposes of an estimated 50 million tonnes of e-waste every year. Aside from the toxic pollution this produces, this is an extraordinary waste of precious resources. When it comes to clothes the numbers are just as eye watering. In the UK we threw away £12.5 billion worth of clothes last year, which ended up with 300,000 tonnes of textiles going to landfill. Repair cafés tackle this problem head on. This ultimately reduces the volume of raw materials and energy needed to make new products and cuts CO2 emissions by reusing instead of manufacturing new products.

Tackling this tsunami of waste, reducing pollution, cutting CO2 and protecting our reserves of raw materials are not the only benefits delivered by repair cafés. They also deliver social and community benefits too. By promoting a repairing culture and inviting visitors to sit with a volunteer repairer, repair cafés show appreciation for the people who have practical knowledge, the result is that these valuable skills are passed on within the community. Finally, repair cafés play an important role in helping to improve social cohesion within communities. Inviting local residents to bring along their broken and damaged items, helps connect residents from very different backgrounds.  You can read more about this project here.

The Trust recently supported a charity working in a similar way with household furniture. Now! Charity is the community-driven social enterprise dedicated to tackling key environmental and social issues across Sussex. They are dedicated to taking on the two critical causes of reducing waste and tackling inequality. They highlight that every year, we dispose of at least 3 million household items that are readily reusable. The charity prevents these items from going to landfill, through either repair or upcycling, and redistributes them to people of low socioeconomic status. Along the way, they also deliver wonderful life-changing and transformative opportunities to their volunteers, many of whom were previously experiencing issues such as homelessness or suffered from mental health issues. A lovely quote that sums up their work is “We impact lives in multiple ways, often triggered by a single piece of essential furniture”. You can read more about this project here.

Another enterprising charity the Trust has worked with recently is RAW Workshop, a social enterprise that makes high-quality furniture from waste timber. RAW runs a Wood Recycling service offering a professional waste wood collection and recycling service to developers, housebuilders and local authorities. In the process, the charity reduces carbon emissions, increases reuse rates and creates significant human social impact with a workforce made up mostly of people who had previously fallen on hard times.  Raw’s aim is to ‘create opportunities for people who have walked challenging life-paths whilst also contributing to the circular economy’. A grant from the Trust enabled the charity to expand its recycling operation.

Finally, ReRun Clothing, a Community-interest-company aimed at prolonging the life of running clothes and equipment.

Founded and run by Dan Lawson, Team GB 24hr Ultra runner, together with his wife Charlotte, Rerun is on a mission to make running equipment more sustainable.

They highlight that the average life of a running shoe on our feet is only four-six months. If sent to landfill they then hang around for a further 11,994 months before starting to decompose.  In addition, they point out that currently, over 5% of the UK’s total annual carbon and water footprint results from clothing consumption. Extending the average life of clothes by just 3 months would result in a 5 to 10% reduction of both carbon and water. Going further, by extending life by 9 months would result in a 20 to 30% reduction.

The Trust was delighted to help provide equipment to enable Rerun to help repair clothing and trainers which you can read about here. You might also be interested to know that founder Dan Lawson recently ran from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in 9 days, 21 hours, 14 minutes and 2 seconds, setting the fastest time ever recorded. 

The Naturesave Trust receives 100% of its donations from the activities of Naturesave Insurance. The Trust has three core activities, grants for environmental projects, a tree-planting program and a long-running campaign to help small to medium-sized businesses become more sustainable.