People are drowning in stuff. Many people have more stuff than they need and use, while others find themselves lacking useful goods that could help improve their lives. So this leads to questioning: Why buy when you can borrow? Why hold on to goods you don’t need when you can lend them to others? The recently launched Share Shed is one community-based response to these questions.
The Share Shed is a library of things based in Totnes (Devon, UK), originally started by the Network of Wellbeing (NOW), where you borrow useful items such as camping, cooking and gardening equipment, tools, house appliances, and much more at a nominal cost.
The idea is to encourage people to become more resourceful, wasting less and connecting more. When you consider that, on average, an electric drill is used for only 13 minutes in its entire lifetime, it becomes clear that we could be using and sharing material goods more effectively. Plus, sharing can be a great way to connect with neighbours and others in the local community.
How the Share Shed got started
Originally inspired by the Share Frome project, NOW decided to explore the possibility of starting a similar sharing initiative in the town of Totnes. After a number of community consultations and surveys, it was clear the local community was very supportive of the idea, so NOW worked to get the project off the ground.
Thanks to the support of wonderful volunteers, a grant from the Big Lottery, the premises kindly offered by Totnes Town Council, and many donations given by community members, the Share Shed successfully opened its doors in April 2017.
During our journey towards the launch, we’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of enthusiasm and generosity we’ve experienced, which even more reinforces the importance of reinventing our models of consuming, connecting with each other and with our planet. As well as items and skills, this is a project that shares values of trust, collaboration, and care of the Earth.
Network of Wellbeing (NOW)
NOW, the organization behind the Share Shed, connects and supports those passionate about wellbeing. Wellbeing for NOW means happy people, healthy communities, and a sustainable planet. We believe that people’s happiness depends in part on the health of the communities in which they live and work. This, in turn, depends on the fairness of society as a whole, and the long-term health of the natural world on which we all depend.
NOW supports community actions and projects to support wellbeing, such as the Share Shed as well as regular Community Potlucks; shared meals to bring people together. NOW is building up a collaborative network of people and organizations who share our vision for wellbeing, and regularly share inspiring blogs, videos, and events to inspire and connect this growing network.
Find out more
For more information about the Share Shed, please visit shareshed.org.uk. If you’re thinking of setting up a library of things, here’s a very helpful ‘how to’ article.