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Rag Tag Scrapstore Giving New Life To B4RN Ducting

September 26th, 2022
Author: Mark Gray
Posted In: Latest news

This Rag Tag creation – using B4RN duct – was featured at Kendal Torchlight

B4RN is known to use the resources around us, making sure nothing goes to waste –  it’s an ethos which still stands today and dates back to the early days, when B4RN was an entirely voluntary organisation.

So it makes sense to highlight the work of Rag Tag – an Artist Studio and Community Scrapstore near Kendal with the ethos to “reduce waste, celebrate creativity and make people smile”.

The similarities don’t end there – both B4RN and Rag Tag are lucky to have so many volunteers and both organisations put the community front and centre with what they do.

Rag Tag was set up by sister and brother Emily Dewhurst and Josh Simpson in 2016. They were inspired by a similar scrapstore they visited as children in Wiltshire and, once both of them were relocated to Cumbria, they set about recreating it.

The dream was made possible by support from Cumbria Community Foundation and Cumbria Waste Management Environmental Trust and things began in a small hub at Mealbank. It proved so popular they ran out of space! So in 2018 they moved to a much larger unit. The company – again like B4RN – is still growing, with plans for even more projects.

The not-for-profit organisation sell arts and craft supplies; host creative workshops and events; and run a coffee shop out of their venue at Mealbank Industrial Estate (the site does have B4RN connections, part of the successful Selside project).

B4RN has been contributing in its own small way – by handing over plenty of scrap ducting! This is part of a staff-led effort to reduce B4RN’s carbon footprint. Network Engineering Manager Alistair Adams-Huset and Office Manager Cat Wilson will save certain materials, while Purchasing Coordinator Katie Johnston often drops things off at Rag Tag herself.

Rachel Sainsbury helps out at Rag Tag: “We want people to reuse, create and play!”

She’s a primary school teacher and says, like B4RN, Rag Tag wants to make sure rural areas don’t miss out: “We’re particularly pleased to have got some of our loose parts play trolleys into schools in isolated communities in west Cumbria.”

B4RN duct features among the treasures on those trolleys, but mum-of-three Rachel says it’s not just kids giving our scrap a new lease of life: “B4RN duct is popular with gardeners, who buy it as ribbing for their polytunnels. We’ve also recently linked up with ‘Men in Sheds‘ – they’ve got some of your ducting to make ball runs.”

B4RN’s Katie Johnston added: “Rachel is a pleasure to deal with. I always look forward to handing over our scrap and seeing it transform into the wonderful creations made by Rag Tag!”

Some other aspects of what Rag Tag do include ‘Re-Make‘, an enterprise where adults with disabilities put together craft kits for sale in the Scrapstore. This teaches the group new skills in creativity, design, and marketing.

Rag Tag’s work is perhaps most obvious when their creations and workshops end up in carnivals and at festivals. B4RN bumped into them at Westmorland Show recently (pictured, below), while B4RN ducting has been used in a robot which featured in the children’s area of Kendal Torchlight Friday 24th – Saturday 25th September 2022 (pictured, at the top of this article).

Rag Tag’s What’s On page details some of their activities for kids, whilst adults can book workshops too; they also have Studios for artists and ceramics.

You can read more about Rag Tag founders Emily & Josh in this local newspaper article: Brother and sister run ‘scrap store’ in Kendal | The Westmorland Gazette

When B4RN met Rag Tag at Westmorland Show



Some More of Rag Tag’s Work

Gavin And Belinda Second Nature Smallban

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