Mobilising repair skills in Clydebank

Quality certification is a priority for reuse initiatives, and the Revolve reuse quality standard in Scotland recently hit an important milestone.

A social enterprise, which repairs and refurbishes mobility equipment in Clydebank for elderly and disabled customers, was in March celebrating reaching a national landmark for re-use organisations. It was also announced on 10 March that the third sector business is to receive funding from Zero Waste Scotland to train staff in essential repair skills.

Recycle Mobility Centre, based in Clydebank, has been revealed as the landmark 50th Revolve-certified store in Scotland, after successfully meeting the criteria for quality and customer service in second-hand stores. Revolve is Scotland’s national re-use standard, managed by Zero Waste Scotland, and acts as a quality kite mark so shoppers can have confidence they are buying high-quality second-hand goods and getting fantastic customer service.

Sam Moir meets the Recycle Mobility team and presents them with their certificate for reaching the Revolve standard.
Sam Moir meets the Recycle Mobility team and presents them with their certificate for reaching the Revolve standard.

The business, based at Clydebank’s Market Village, Inshop, Sylvania Way South, is split into two – repairs and sales. Customers can buy refurbished equipment, have it repaired, or donate items which can be sold on. While the shop is open to all, the majority of customers who benefit are the elderly, disabled, or their family members.

Recycle Mobility Centre has also been awarded a grant from Zero Waste Scotland to train staff in re-use and repair skills, one of six third-sector organisations in Scotland announced today, spanning Glasgow, Mull, Fife, Paisley and Edinburgh.

The Clydebank store is benefitting from the re-use and repair grant of £1,800 which will be used to fully qualify an engineer to SVQ level 2 in Electrical Engineering.

Addressing a skills shortage

Research carried out by Zero Waste Scotland found a shortage of skills could be preventing re-use organisations from growing their businesses. The repair training grant aims to get over this barrier by helping workers to gain skills in repair or upcycling for four types of common items: electronic equipment, furniture, bicycles and textiles.

Elaine Williamson of Recycle Mobility meets loyal customer Elizabeth McLeod.
Elaine Williamson of Recycle Mobility meets loyal customer Elizabeth McLeod.

Helping to expand the re-use sector across Scotland is a key aim of Zero Waste Scotland. The group’s research estimates over 150,000 tonnes of re-usable goods are still going to landfill in Scotland every year. By re-using more, items can be prevented from going to landfill needlessly while also encouraging sustainable new employment opportunities in local communities.

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment said: “Encouraging re-use and repair forms a key part of the Scottish Government’s circular economy strategy, Making Things Last. Recycle Mobility Centre is a terrific example of how re-use and repair can benefit local communities. Scotland’s Revolve standard provides reassurance for shoppers that they are getting a quality product, and I hope to see Recycle Mobility and other re-use organisations across the country going from strength-to-strength.”

Sam Moir, Revolve Manager, Zero Waste Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to announce the 50th Revolve store in Scotland, and extend congratulations to Recycle Mobility Centre, on successfully meeting the standard. It’s a fantastic organisation that provides an essential service for many people in the local areas, professional workmanship and great customer service. We’re excited for the future with many more organisations waiting in the wings to join Scotland’s national re-use standard, and get the message out there that second-hand is not second-best.”

Sam added: “Building and expanding repair skills in Scotland is vital to increasing the amount of goods being re-used. Boosting existing repair skills also has the potential to create many new, sustainable jobs in communities across Scotland, such as those created by Recycle Mobility Centre, and we hope the repair grant will help to promote this. We need to preserve the skills we have and attract new young people to learn the skills of repair, which will be increasingly important to our economy in the future.”

Elaine Williamson, Project Manager, Recycle Mobility, said: “Recycle Mobility is committed to helping our customers and to repairing and finding a new home for perfectly usable equipment that might otherwise go to waste – a terrible shame when there are many people out there who need equipment like this. By repairing and refurbishing mobility equipment, we can make it available to people for affordable prices and we can repair items for people – a lifeline if anything goes wrong with these essential items. We also provide employment and volunteering here for local people in our workshop.

“We’re seeing increasing demand for our products and services and are looking to expand.

“So we’re very grateful to Zero Waste Scotland for the funding support to train up our team here in essential skills.”