October 23, 2018
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Outline the vision and mission of the Social Enterprise
ReCreate is a thriving social enterprise making art materials and educational supplies affordable and accessible to every sector of the community for all kinds of creative purposes. Our mission is to be an inclusive and successful social enterprise inspiring curiosity, creativity and care for the environment. We do this through a concept known as ‘Creative Reuse’ which is the re-purposing of excess, unused, surplus or unwanted materials from businesses in creative ways. Every year thousands of tonnes of materials are discarded by manufacturing companies for many reasons. Instead of sending them to landfill or for recycling ReCreate, its members and artists reinvent them in new and interesting ways. ReCreate are hoping to encourage the community to think about how we can create a more sustainable future for generations to come, while at the same time engaging in creative exercises which are known to improve self-esteem and well-being in an individual! The ReCreate team also facilitate over 200 workshops annually, giving participants the tools to tackle the throw away culture that our society faces and take an item that has reached the end of one life and creatively give it a new lease of life. Our vision is to establish a national social enterprise fostering creativity, valuing social inclusion and protecting the environment, and having just opened a new bigger premise in Dublin, the ReCreate team are keeping that vision firmly in their sights
How has the Social Enterprise developed and tackled issues?
Officially launched in February 2014, ReCreate initially consisted of a team of 2 full-time staff, with 6 part-time staff through the Tús programme. In a 2 year period we were able to grow the team to 6 full-time employees. By growing the team, ReCreate has increased its impact significantly, growing our suppliers to 250 businesses donating materials on a regular basis and diverting roughly 250 tonnes from Landfill annually. By the end of 2018, the ReCreate team will aim to have diverted 1,000 tonnes from landfill since opening. The growth in staff and impact has not gone unrecognised, with ReCreate picking up a number of awards throughout 2016 & 2017:
✓ 2016 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Impact Award
✓ Pakman Community Recycling Project of the year 2016
✓ Inner City Enterprise Award 2016
✓ Business to Arts Community Art Award 2017
✓ Best NGO, South Dublin Business Awards 2017
✓ Pakman Environmental & Awareness Initiative 2017
The main challenges for ReCreate have been:
- Growing the membership base.
- Increasing suppliers and diversity of materials available.
- Promoting Creative Reuse Concept, which was new to Ireland.
Each of these challenges are interlinked and are crucial to the success of ReCreate. Without materials, we would have no members, so staff identified this as the first challenge to overcome and went about seeking more suppliers. By improving the layout and variety of stock available, the frequency of visits to the warehouse quickly begun to rise. The team set a target of ensuring there would be something new in the warehouse every time a member visits. With this mantra, word of the fantastic materials available quickly gathered pace, which led to both our membership growing and also the ReCreate brand and creative reuse.
What has the overall impact of the work been?
Apart from our member groups, there are thousands more people that visit ReCreate spaces through events, festivals and other workshops promoting creativity. The model ensures that schools and community groups save substantially on their annual budgets; children and adults alike get access to materials that previously may not have been available; Community Groups can run projects that may not have been possible, and businesses are given a viable third option for disposal. It is estimated that through all channels, ReCreate have introduced Creative Reuse to over 200,000 people so far since opening.
In 2016, ReCreate embarked on putting together some evidence-based research through working with Trinity College on a project called Heads-Up. This research proved that engagement with ReCreate materials encourages positive mental health and wellbeing and saw the release of our first ever publication, Heads-Up, which we made available for free. The feedback was so overwhelmingly positive that the ReCreate team were granted special funding to further continue this research, titled All Heads Together.
ReCreate has had a great impact on the community in a short space of time, and our recent move will only help us to further increase that. Our staff are driven and focused on continuing to grow this project.
“ReCreate – what a breath of fresh air. The membership is such fantastic value and a brilliant way for schools etc to save money while also using recycled items. From the moment you walk in the door you are met with such professional, knowledgeable and courteous staff, who are obviously passionate about this fantastic facility. Its a pleasure and a joy to call in and stock up on supplies. I really cannot praise the team at ReCreate enough – what a fantastic creative resource on our doorstep."
What makes this Social Enterprise unique?
What makes ReCreate unique is the fact that this Social Enterprise is the first of its kind here in Ireland. There was no blueprint for how this project was to be set up and run, the ReCreate team have themselves been creative in paving the road down which the company has travelled. The concept of Creative Reuse had never been heard of before in Ireland until now. Staff were greeted with looks of bewilderment and confusion when they began to contact businesses about taking their faulty and unwanted materials at no cost. On the other hand, the “warehouse of wonders” was greeted with open arms and from day one our process over product approach has yielded amazing results with creativity and use of the imagination blossoming in every visitor. Our direction has been led by the effects that our materials have had on our members.
Another unique element is our process over product approach to creativity. No two ReCreate workshops are the same as each workshop is tailored to suit the needs, wants and abilities of the group we are facilitating for. Our team spend a large amount of time preparing each workshop and our goal when facilitating is more about how the participants engage, learn and play with the materials rather than an end product.
Please describe how your Social Enterprise engages in trading activity in a way to achieve your social mission
ReCreate currently operates on 47% Traded Income annually.
- The main source of income for ReCreate is the annual membership subscriptions. Groups pay a nominal annual fee and have unlimited access to the warehouse throughout the duration of membership. ReCreate currently have 1,107 active members, with 1,500 needed to be self sustainable.
- The ReCreate team also have a comprehensive workshop and education programme, delivering over 200 workshops and events annually in different settings for groups of all ages.
- ReCreate design and create installations of all shapes and sizes for clients also. We work closely with some of our business suppliers, designing installations from the materials that they donate to us, so they can highlight the benefits of the creative reuse process in their reception area or another desired location.
- Staff also facilitate teacher training course throughout the summer months, highlighting how ReCreate materials can be incorporated into the primary curriculum.
- Finally, we also have a small art shop in place, where our members can pick up the little pieces to put all of their materials together, such as paint, glue, cable ties and glitter.
How can the public support the Social Enterprise?
It is incredibly easy for the public to support ReCreate. We are always on the lookout for new suppliers, and of course are open to welcoming new members to the warehouse of wonders! If you have a friend or relative that works for a company that may have materials suitable for ReCreate, then we’d love to hear from you. Our team can pay a visit and identify if the materials would be suitable for Creative Reuse at a time to suit the employee of the company and for free.
Likewise, we would love for the public to spread the word about us here. If you have a niece, nephew, child or grandchild attending a creche or school, why not ask the teacher if they are members of ReCreate?
Another way of supporting ReCreate would also be by volunteering some time with us. We are always open to welcoming volunteers here as part of our Social Inclusion programme, and currently have 8 volunteers pledging different amounts of time to us on a weekly basis, from an hour a week to 2 full days. If you would be interested in volunteering with us, simply give us a call on 01-4568798 and we can discuss what kind of role that you may like to get involved with.
How is the Social Enterprise transparent and accountable?
We have fully adopted and are compliant with the Code of Governance. Every year, our finances are independently audited and published on our website for you here. As a registered Irish Charity, we are listed on the Charities Regulatory Authority’s Register of Charities in the Republic of Ireland.
ReCreate is governed by a Board of Directors who direct and supervise the affairs of ReCreate on a day to day basis to ensure that it delivers on its goals and objectives, upholds the vision and mission of the Social Enterprise in every aspect of its activities and stays in line with the Strategic Plan.