Inverclyde library service selected for pioneering ‘Lend and Mend Hub’ project

Building on its current offering, Inverclyde Council’s South West Library will introduce a ‘Lend and Mend Hub’, funded by The John Lewis Partnership’s £1m Circular Future Fund, which will help the local community to repair, reuse, rent and upcycle everyday items, with free access for everyone to keep items in use for longer, rather than them being thrown away.

Public libraries in Aberdeen, Midlothian, Perth and South Ayrshire have also been selected to make up a ‘network’ of sustainable, circular hubs across Scotland, due to their wide geographical spread and diverse community reach.

Earlier this year, SLIC’s pioneering ‘Lend and Mend Hubs’ proposition was announced as one of just four UK projects selected to receive funding from the John Lewis Partnership’s Circular Future Fund.

Having now selected five public library partners, SLIC will use the fund for the equipment, training and space upgrades needed to deliver these promising projects. It is expected SLIC will also support a further three public library ‘Lend and Mend Hubs’ as part of this pilot scheme.

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive of SLIC, said: “Receiving over 40 million visits every year, the Scottish public are familiar with borrowing from libraries but don’t always have the opportunity to extend this circular thinking to other aspects of their lives, for example how they use household goods and clothing.

South West Library, Greenock
South West Library, Greenock

“And at a time when all of Scotland’s communities are experiencing economic and environmental challenges, the introduction of this network will build on the important role our public libraries provide, giving people access to resources they might not otherwise have to support responsible consumption and learning, locally and free. 

“With the first phase of library partners selected, we can’t wait to see these local library services transform and thrive for the long-term benefit of us all.” 

The projects, led by SLIC, will follow a co-design approach with service teams bringing local knowledge and expertise to the delivery to ensure each hub is tailored to community needs.  Upon completion, each hub will also introduce an education programme to support new skills development, helping to reduce inequality through equitable access to resources.

Councillor Jim Clocherty, Inverclyde Council’s convener of education and communities, said: “It’s a huge honour for our library service, and Greenock South West Library in particular, to be one of the first five locations in Scotland selected to establish a Lend and Mend Hub.

“As a society, we quite simply waste far too much. With the cost of living crisis and climate emergency, this initiative is perfectly timed to help our residents reduce waste and cut costs for the benefit of the environment and their pockets.

“People will be able to repair or borrow various items, to give goods a new lease of life and I look forward to seeing how this innovative project grows and develops.”

Pamela added: “These inspirational public libraries have the potential to create a real impact and will provide valuable learnings in promoting the urgent need to adopt a more circular way of living. We hope this pilot will help develop a long-term model for libraries to be a hub of circular economy activities.”

Last month, Inverclyde Council’s libraries service team was recognised for their commitment to sustainability, taking home the ‘Project of the Year’ award at the 2022 SLIC Awards. The winning project’s aim was to stimulate long-term public engagement in the lead up to and following the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, and it was described as ‘inspirational’ in the way in which it grew the sense of community while linking the ‘local’ to the ‘global’ through a series of special events. 

It is expected South West Library will open its ‘Lend and Mend Hub’ for public use in early 2023.