Give a new life! RePair-ReUse-ReThink-ReConnect

A solution by Archipelagos Social Coop submitted to Strengthening the Social Fabric in underprivileged, Athens downtown districts

In a time when the country is in the midst of financial struggle, with high degrees of unemployment, RePair - ReUse - ReThink - ReConnect will involve a series of actions aiming at promoting the culture of products’ re-use and contributing to the revival and re-introduction of certain disappearing traditional crafts (e.g., tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, etc.) in the region of Kypseli.

(Pitched: 15/04/2018)

One Page Summary

Repair, reuse, rethink are the key-words that give meaning to the concept of ‘recycling’ that could help people and the planet to thrive. The main definition of the concept of ‘re-use’ refers to any activity that enables products or ingredients not to be considered as waste but to be re-used for the same purposes for which they were designed, with a new form of life. The financial strategy of products’ reuse has multiple benefits, especially for big cities, as it reduces or eliminates waste, saves resources and materials and preserves the environment. It is also important to mention how beneficial it is for people with low income as well as non-profit organizations and low-budget organizations.

The culture of re-use requires infrastructure development and raising of public awareness. It also requires the appropriate choice of space and facilities as well as the technical and financial assistance programs by development agencies supporting its work.

The main objective of RePair - ReUse - ReThink - ReConnect is to raise awareness on the concept of re-use of products and natural materials that tend to disappear (e.g., wood) aiming at promoting the culture of re-use to the inhabitants of Kypseli, offering ecological and financial solutions.
The main priority of the proposed activity is to cover a wide range of needs of the local population, which include:
- Training opportunities aiming at teaching useful skills related to the repair and re-use of products.
- Networking of the locals with the purpose of activating and involving the seniors of the region in the concept of re-use of products.
- Teaching new skills (craft skills etc.) to people with psychosocial difficulties (people with mental health problems, migrants, refugees, unemployed young people, etc.) with the aim of their upskilling and preparation in order to enter the labor market, as well as the psychosocial empowerment.
- Access to second-hand products at low prices so as for the inhabitant of the area to be able to buy decent products.

All the activities will be complemented by the operation of a Second-Hand shop run by our Social Cooperative in the Municipal Market of Kypseli; a Second-Hand Shop employing people with psychosocial difficulties. The Second-Hand Shop will be the core around which the proposed actions will be organized and developed. A group of volunteers will also collect used items from the locals that will be slightly reconstructed and sold in the shop at low cost, reinforcing the concept of repair and re-use of old items.

The proposed project is directly related to the goals and the vision for the new Municipal Market of Kypseli; a space of collectivity with social benefits, supporting non-profit, welfare organizations and groups that promote the local community of Kypseli and the wider region of Athens, new creators, collectivities, etc. Therefore, the proposed activities reinforce the involvement of the citizens of Kypseli, with the purpose of strengthening their sense of belonging, as well as the social cohesion through active participation.

The proposal can constitute a springboard towards the revival of local economy, contributing to the key objectives of the Municipal Market of Kypseli and the wider region, by attracting a new consumer target group, bringing renewed interest, and offering products and services to citizens in the area.

The retail of second-hand products is increasingly gaining place in the retail sector, mainly due to the low cost of both products’ acquisition and provision, compared to the significant potential of profit. However, the specific activity of second-hand retail will combine the social aim of creating job positions for people with psychosocial difficulties who have long been excluded from the job market, together with the development of a network of people who will reinforce the culture of reuse /recycling products and assist the most vulnerable members of our society. The operation of the Second-Hand shop will open job positions for 3-4 people with psychosocial difficulties and will facilitate their employment and social integration. This is what differentiates the specific series of activities aiming at the re-use of old products from any other competitive relevant actions focusing solely on the concept of reuse and recycle.

For the development of these activities, both the employees and the members of the Social Cooperative will be involved. Locals from the area of Kypseli will be also recruited to join the group of volunteers who will participate in the raising-awareness campaign and contribute to all the activities. Local public and private organizations, schools of the area, institutions and organizations active in the social and solidarity economy, and other initiatives can also make a valuable contribution to the implementation of the proposed actions.