General ramblings, Happy Stuff!

#makingitbetter-Free Shop at Savernake St Social Hall

Here we go with the first in my mini series, highlighting some of the fabulous projects and people that I had the good fortune to meet this weekend at the Big Lunch Extras Swindon Roadshow, and who are doing their bit to #makeitbetter (whether ‘it’ is an item of clothing, a community, or a planet..!)
Today, it’s the turn of the fabulous Free Shop at Savernake St Social Hall.

I’ve blogged about this project before here on Make Do and Mend-able, but it’s totally worth sharing again, and just in case you missed it…

Every month on the 1st Saturday of the month, Savernake Street Social Hall in Swindon opens it’s doors to it’s shop.
But it’s a shop with a difference, in that everything is FREE!
Yes, you heard it, free, zip, nada, nothing.
How awesome is that?!

It works kind of like a Give and Take event, although there is no expectation that in order to take something away, you need to have bought something.
Everything is given freely-there is no element of swapping, it is genuinely free.

I LOVE this project!
It is, like so many genius projects, so simple!
All it needs is a space, some tables, a few storage boxes, and a couple of people to run it, and you’re away.
The ‘stock’ is all donated, and is constantly being refreshed as people arrive bringing donations with them.

There were books, DVDs, CDs, kids clothes and toys, adults clothes, along with an eclectic mix of general ‘stuff’.

BLE-free shop
Refreshments were available in return for a donation, and the shop seemed pretty busy for most of the 2 hours it was ‘open’.
I am told that on some days they can have nearly 200 people in, over a 2 hour period-how fab is that?!

I love this project (did I say that already) because it’s not just about saving stuff from landfill.
It’s about the community, and a space for people to come and have a browse, and a cuppa, and a natter.
It’s an awesome way of raising the profile of the Social Hall within the community, and whilst people are visiting the Free Shop, they will often make enquiries about hiring the Hall for other events.
AND it’s a fabulous way of doing that thing I love-starting a conversation around re-use and consumption. And it gets people thinking about the abundance and excess that is so prevelent in the Western World, without being preachy, or threatening.

If you love Free Shops as much as me, and want to find out more about setting one up, Anna Smart who helped to set up this one, wrote me a brilliant blog post about how to set up a Free Shop over on Make Do and Mend-able-you can find it here 🙂

BI-Free Shop

Stay tuned tomorrow, for another dose of awesome-ness, with the Super Kitchen!



(Visited 54 times, 1 visits today)


  • Reply Rae Hodgetts July 7, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    In a bid to empty my garage (and make space for garage clutter in the house, pending my next go at ‘MinsGame’) I recently put a couple of boxes of miscellaneous items in front of my house – prime location for dog walkers and families walking to school from our estate, with a sign encouraging people to rehome things! The plants were first to go. Then a bag of pebbles and a bag of craft paper. It sparked conversations, more passing walkers smile and say hello to me now and the child who shouted “thank you very much!” excitedly one afternoon, just incase I could hear, made my day!

    • Reply Jen July 7, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      Love this Rae! What a fab story. And the kid shouting thankyou totally made me break out in a big smile!

    Leave a Reply