Bootle charity on a mission to rescue unwanted textiles

A charity in Bootle has made it their mission to stop textiles from being thrown away – and has received a financial funding boost to help them in their efforts.
Bootle Venus Project with a sewing machine

The Repurpose Project: Breathing New Life into Old Textiles is the creation of The Venus Charity, a Bootle-based community group who help to empower, promote and support women, young women and their children. The resource-rescuing project has been awarded £3500 from the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority and Veolia Community Fund, which helps local groups to reduce waste and increase recycling and reuse.

Venus have run a pop-up shop in the Bootle Strand shopping centre to deliver upcycling textiles workshops within the shop space. More follow-on sessions have been delivered from The Venus Centre in Bootle.

Sue Potts, Chief Executive of Venus, said: “The Repurpose Project is aiming to prevent waste and increase the amount of materials available for reuse and recycling by upcycling old textiles. We’re hoping to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable practices, and to provide a creative and accessible way for members of our community to engage with these practices. By using these materials we can prevent them from going to waste and instead give them a new lease of life.”

Bootle charity venus group photo MRWA and Veolia community fund

Venus have been working with partner organisations to source materials which can then be creatively repurposed. The workshops – led by artist Emma Summerscales – are providing an anticipated 50 participants with the skills and knowledge they need to upcycle textiles, whilst preventing up to one tonne of materials from going to waste.

Venus have also developed an educational booklet that is being distributed to participants during the sessions, providing them with step-by-step instructions on how to upcycle and repair their textiles. Short educational presentations are being shown at each session which covers topics such as the environmental impact of textile waste, the benefits of upcycling, and the basics of textile repair. These presentations are interactive and designed to engage participants and encourage them to ask questions and share their own experiences.

According to research* around 5% of household bins locally contain textiles such as clothes and shoes, a lot of which could still be used. The Repurpose Project can help stop those items from being thrown away, can stop resources from going to waste, whilst also engaging with the local community and spread the message about sustainability in a practical way.
Lesley Worswick
Chief Executive of Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority

Sue Potts continued: “We believe that by directly engaging with residents we can build a stronger relationship and foster a sense of community ownership and involvement in our project. This will not only benefit the success of our project and the environment, but also have a positive impact on the local community as a whole.”

A project celebration event was recently held at the Venus Centre (Thursday 30th November, 2023) which brought together organisers, participants and partners.