Where it all began

My name is Lauren Pyott and I’m the founder of Clachworks: a new social enterprise working towards creating an open space for making and remaking in Inverness. in these blogs I’ll be discussing some of my motivations for starting the social enterprise and about some of the projects we have lined up. I’ll also be talking about why I think the environmental movement has to have social justice at its heart.

My own background is pretty mixed. I grew up outside of Scotland, living in Ghana, Palestine and Cambodia, and moved to Inverness as a young teenager. Over the years my ‘outsider’ identity has grown on me — not feeling fully Scottish, but not really anything else — and it’s become a lens with which I view the world. From a young age I knew that there was always more than one way of doing something, more than one way of speaking or thinking.

Like many, I left Inverness in search of study and work, which took me to Edinburgh, Damascus, Manchester, Berlin and London. And my ‘career’ has been just about as varied. I’ve worked as a literary translator (Arabic-English); editor; festival organiser; researcher; academic teacher; theatre usher; and union organiser. I also make and sell jewellery & things out of recycled materials, under the name Pica Piot.

I moved back to Inverness three years ago and whilst I was delighted to live in such a beautiful part of the world again, I was also saddened to see how hard life can be here for many. Unemployment is high in Inverness and it tragically has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Last year, I decided to set up a social enterprise Clachworks to try and tackle some of these issues from within the community.

Clachworks will be a socially inclusive space for making & remaking in Inverness. We believe that the tools, skills & resources needed to create & repair things shouldn’t cost the earth & should be accessible to all. We have plans to open a tool library, open-access workshop space, community garden & café, facilitating a transition towards the circular economy.

By sharing resources amongst the community, Clachworks aims to lower personal costs for individuals; reduce the overall consumption and waste of goods; and foster skills development and community solidarity. Ultimately, we want to create a space for people to make things, skills and friendships. This will hopefully be based in a heritage workshop that was originally used to construct the Caledonian Canal over two hundred years ago, and by doing so we seek to honour the legacy of the trades and tradespeople that once made Inverness flourish.

By Lauren Pyott