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'Rethink, recreate, renew' - A Norfolk town's Aladdin's cave opens its doors to share green ethos

PUBLISHED: 15:31 01 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:38 01 June 2019

Scrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Pictured is Tula Chenery (left) and Gina Bailey. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Scrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Pictured is Tula Chenery (left) and Gina Bailey. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

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It began more than 20 years ago with only a few boxes on the floor.

Scrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPScrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Now an Aladdin's cave of a charity is bursting at the seams with reusable delights collected and donated from all corners of the county.

Scrapbox, based in Reepham, has been tucked away on a small industrial estate for the past two decades. A unique social enterprise, it is home to a variety of rare, unusual, and landfill-rescued items.

Overseen by trustees from the Aylsham group of churches, it employs two part time staff - Tula Chenery and Gina Bailey, who took over its running in 2016. Since then, the pair have made it their mission to raise awareness, increase its sales and membership, and promote the message of recycling and reusing.

Manager Mrs Chenery said: "Our slogan is 'rethink, recreate, renew'.

Scrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPScrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

"We're trying to encourage people to rethink how we use world resources, through education, play and creativity. There's a lot of scope to reuse and repurpose existing resources and recreate something special whilst having fun at the same time. Rejects can be transformed into desirables with a bit of creative imagination.

"Whilst we can't single-handedly solve the problem of our overflowing landfill sites, we can do our bit to encourage people to think twice before throwing things out."

The charity is dedicated to collecting and redistributing clean, reusable unwanted but useful material from local businesses and industry for community art, crafts, design and technology, music and drama projects.

Items currently stocked include paper, card, fabrics, yarns, stationery, foam, plastics, cartons, containers, and art and craft materials.

Scrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPScrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Mrs Chenery added: "We've a band of sterling volunteers who help to collect, process, package and display the reclaimed resources ready for purchase by our members.

"We're always on the lookout for more helpers, be it at our warehouse and shop or doing outwork at home, such as packing and pricing items or measuring fabrics.

"It's fun, varied work and the volunteers provide an absolutely vital role in the running of the charity as Gina and I couldn't do it all on our own."

Scrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPScrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Praise for its work supporting the community

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb recently visited the mid-Norfolk charity and praised its efforts.

He said: "What an amazing place.

Scrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Pictured is Tula Chenery (left) and Gina Bailey. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPScrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Pictured is Tula Chenery (left) and Gina Bailey. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

"Scrapbox is doing a great job of saving these resources from landfill and supporting the local community with fantastic art and craft resources."

It currently has more than 500 members making use of its resources and around 15 volunteers.

The charity is based at units five and six, off Collers Way, and is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2pm to 6pm, and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm.

It is also looking for new trustees to bring valuable skills such as accountancy, retail or business experience.

Scrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPScrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

For further information, including about membership or enquiring about becoming a trustee, email info.scrapbox@gmail.com or ring 01603 873128.

You can also find out more about how some of the items are used via Facebook .

Scrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPScrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Scrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPScrapbox in Reepham, is helping to promote awareness of reusing unwanted materials. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

MP Norman Lamb visited Scrapbox in Reepham. Picture: ANDREW WHITEHEADMP Norman Lamb visited Scrapbox in Reepham. Picture: ANDREW WHITEHEAD

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