What is Clachworks?
Craft, DIY and gardening have become more popular than ever, and following the Covid pandemic, no one can deny the (mental) health benefits that they can bring!
However, Clachworks realises that these activities aren’t always accessible to all, and can come with certain costs and barriers:
Economic: Tools are often expensive to buy and take up lots of (precious) storage space to store them.
Social: Women make up just 12.5% of the labour force in the construction industry (and only 3% in manual trades), and people from a minority ethnic background just 5.4%.
Environmental: It’s said that the average power drill is only used for 13 minutes of its entire lifetime. Which not only makes it a terrible use of the earth’s resources, but ultimately a pretty useless tool!
Instead, Clachworks believes in the circular economy which aims to reuse materials rather than throwing them away.
What is the Circular Economy?
The circular economy is a model which seeks to eliminate waste by finding ways to reuse materials indefinitely. This can be done by sharing, reusing, repairing, remaking, refurbishing, recycling items and their materials for as long as possible.
The Linear Economy Creates Waste
The Circular Economy Eliminates Waste
How will Clachworks do this?
A tool library will allow members to borrow a wide range of tools when they need them, rather than having to buy each tool and find space to store them. Not to mention using them very infrequently if ever again! Unlike many tool libraries, which charge for each use of a given tool, Clachworks will offer membership via a one-off annual fee on a sliding scale depending on what people can afford. We feel that this provides much better value and makes the tool library accessible to more members.
A programme of classes will be offered, again on a sliding scale to increase accessibility, from beginner to more advanced projects to develop skills and confidence. Classes also provide a chance for members to get to know and support each other, creating a sense of community.
Clachworks will hold regular ‘repair cafes’, encouraging members of the public to learn how to fix items that are broken rather than throwing them away. Repair cafes are on the rise internationally and are a great way of contributing to the circular economy. Learning how to repair a variety of household and personal use items is a lifelong skill which can be passed on, adding to the growing network of people who can salvage items which would otherwise end up in landfills.
Clachworks also intends to open a community garden which will provide growing space for those who don’t have a garden, or the confidence to know where to start with the space they do have. Community planters and raised beds will be constructed with the help of members to be used for growing produce, allowing members the satisfaction of tasting the fruits of their labours. The garden will also provide a safe place for members to get to know each other and enjoy the many health benefits of a green space.
Clachworks will also host educational activities in the garden, such as willow-weaving, foraging and jam-making workshops.
A takeaway cafe will provide a hub for people to come together and interact, allowing members of the local community to become more involved with Clachworks. A range of delicious home-baked goods, initially sweet and savoury pies made by home chefs from local refugee and immigrant communities, will be on sale along with hot and cold drinks.
By sharing resources, Clachworks aims to:
- Lower personal costs for individuals.
- Reduce the overall consumption and waste of goods.
- Foster skills development and community empowerment.
What do people think about Clachworks?
Clachworks ran an online community survey to see whether the people of Inverness would be interested in its idea for a tool library, open access workshop and repair cafe. As shown by our key findings, we had an overwhelmingly positive response which showed strong community support for Clachwork's aims.
“We need to provide more for the community that doesn't just involve being a consumer! The powers that be need to think further than tourism. Think community!!”
“I would have loved to have access to this kind of thing when I was much younger and starting out with not much money or knowledge of DIY, no access to tools etc.”
“Fantastic idea. I was literally thinking about how I wished there was a shared workshop space I could use during uni to practice wood and metal work. The sense of community and meeting new people while doing it and getting to learn and see their work excites me as well.”
“I think this is a great idea - very interested in the transition to a circular economy and how this can be positive. I think lots of kids could benefit, especially from 'tinkering' and learning with their hands. Lots of workplaces have surplus tools, and needlessly buy tools. Same with homes.”
“I would like to feel useful to the community.”
Who is behind Clachworks?
Clachworks currently has a board of six (voluntary) directors who are busy working to establish the Clachworks vision.
Lauren Pyott is the founder and managing director of Clachworks. She has a pretty mixed background in translation, publishing, organising festivals, research and teaching, but has always dreamed of working as a joiner. She makes jewellery and other items out of things people throw away, under the name Pica Piot. Her favourite tool is a counter sink.
Laura McIntosh is a board member of Clachworks. Her background is in research and project management, with some teaching and book-keeping added in along the way. She has lived abroad for quite a long time but is very happy to be back home in the Highlands, enjoying the beautiful outdoors in spite of the weather. Her favourite tool is a tenon saw.
Awards & Affiliations
Best Social Impact Business (UHI Business Competition 2021)
In May 2021, Clachworks was awarded the Best Social Impact Business Award in the University of the Highlands and Islands Business Competition.
In June 2021, Clachworks was awarded start-up funding from the Unltd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs.
Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland School for Social Entrepreneurs
Clachworks has been accepted onto the prestigious Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Start-Up Programme, run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs. .
Social Enterprise Academy
Clachworks is pleased to be receiving support from the Social Enterprise Academy.
Social Enterprise Scotland
Clachworks is a registered member of Social Enterprise Scotland.