Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Head ‘librarian’ Shelley with a mitre saw, one of wide range of tools available to borrowers.

Crowdfunder launched to keep Library of Things going

Umbrella Sussex – the Community Sharing CIC – has launched a crowdfunder to support Hastings Library of Things and Make and Mend Bexhill and Beyond. Nick Terdre reports.

Hastings Library of Things exists to lend people things we sometimes need, at a fraction of the cost of buying new, and Make and Mend Bexhill and Beyond run weekly drop-in sessions for people to help mend the things we own that sometimes need a bit of care.

Both projects are run by and for the community, with no paid staff and with minimal charges. Now they are after a little bit of help to pay their rent and keep the doors open on these community sharing projects.

Christine Cheverall, founder and chief mender, says, “We are one of five projects chosen by East Sussex County Council in the region to benefit from their Community Wellbeing Fund. It’s great they recognise what we are doing, fixing things that might otherwise be thrown away, as important. People come to get all kinds of things mended, glasses, irons and kettles being the top picks, although I did once fix a kayak.”

Christine, or part of her, of Make and Mend.

The team encourage people to be active in the repair, for example, learning themselves how to patch a pair of jeans. And they are encouraged to sit and have a cuppa while the mending is going on, so it’s sociable as well.

Shelley, founder member and head ‘librarian,’ explains about Hastings Library of Things.

“We all need stuff, but we don’t all need to own everything individually, and not all of us could afford to, or have the space for much. We set up Hastings Library of Things so that people and community groups could borrow things they need, without lots of things being left in cupboard or sheds, being underused, while other people don’t have what they need. We have all sorts of things, but the most popular things are DIY powertools, wheelchairs, and folding tables.

“We do charge a membership fee, but it’s a token charge of £3 a year, and we don’t charge anything for borrowing, because we know money is tight for a lot of people. Last year we were lending our dehumidifers and space heaters to people all winter long, people stuck in poor housing, but we also recently lent out fancy dress and our chocolate fountain to a lovely couple for their daughter’s fourth birthday.

“We even had someone ‘referred’ by social services for a wheelchair, which was a bit of an eye-opener to be honest. Luckily we were able to help, but these are strange times when social services are referring people to a voluntary group to get the vital equipment they need.”

The crowdfunder campaign, which runs until 29 November, aims to raise £2,000. By 3 November it was north of £935. There are loads of rewards to thank anyone who gives, from £5 and up, and for £1,000 they will even build you a coracle, Shelley says.

Money raised by the campaign will keep the doors open for the coming year, and, if you want to know more they are very happy for you to get in touch.

If you want to meet them, pop into the Common Room on Tuesdays 12-2pm and Fridays and Saturdays 12-4pm, or go to their next Free Shop – Friday 24 November, 12-2pm. The Common Room is at Eagle House, 27-29 Cambridge Rd, TN34 1DJ, opposite ESK.


Link to the crowdfunder, which can also be accessed via the QR code.

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Posted 14:47 Friday, Nov 3, 2023 In: Community

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