Grassroots Sharing: Saving Money & The Planet

by Umbrella Sussex in Hastings, East Sussex, United Kingdom

We did it
On 13th December 2023 we successfully raised £3,174 with 79 supporters in 51 days

We run a library of things, a repair project & free shops/swop shops. We lend, and we mend, saving money and building community.

by Umbrella Sussex in Hastings, East Sussex, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

We need £7000.00 a year to cover our costs. If we get all that and don't have to apply for grants (very time consuming and never guaranteed) we can use the time covering that amount will let our volunteers spend more time doing "people" stuff and less time on "admin" stuff.  That will free us up to launch our Beach Library and E-waste projects.

Who are we?

We are Umbrella Sussex, a Community Interest Company with charitable aims  we are 100% community run- no staff, all volunteers. 

Our big projects are Hastings Library of Things (lending) and Make and Mend Bexhill and Beyond (mending).1699828794_keep.png

Our Library lends things, wheelchairs, DIY tools, party equipment, kids fancy dress

Our Make and Mend project has made draft excluders, handwarmers, reusable sandwich wraps and mended sewing machines, irons and glasses. It hosts a knitting and craft social group and has taught a lot of people how to mend their clothes

About 3 times a year we host a big Free Shop and Cafe. Free "Shops" let people share what they no longer need with people who do need things- clothes, school uniforms, kids toys, over a cuppa and a slice of cake

Next year we are going to add a Beach Library of Things -lending buckets and spades and sunshades, and giving out rubbish bags



We save people £1050-£2400 a month  every month by lending them things so they don't need to buy, and fixing things so they can keep their things for longer.

  • Adam used our sewing machine saving the cost of a new machine (£150), and used it to handmade bags and cushion covers, which he sells at craft fairs. His business is going well and he has almost set aside enough to buy his own machine.
  • Kate got a new arm on her old glasses, saving her £200 it would have cost to buy a new pair.

But, it's not just money- 

  • Sarah borrowed the wheelchair to help get her Granddad out and about after his knee op. 
  • The Ross family borrowed a tent and sleeping bags to have their first family holiday in 5 years.

Plus, we've redistributed 800 items of clothing and given away 300 sewing kits and haberdashery bits and bobs to help people fix their own things. 

Our projects are open to everyone, we don't ask lots of questions- we just help.

We think when you put conditions on things it stops people who need help from getting it.  Pus, we want to build up our community, we are part of it, and we think sharing (skills, things, time) is the way to do that.


Why are we crowdfunding?


Our projects are all about people and the "Sharing Economy". When people have a chance to help each other- they do, and, our projects give people that chance. 

  • All our "things" are donated by members of the community. The replacement value of our donated things is over £15000.


We stop things going to landfill by fixing them and we stop people having to buy things by letting them borrow instead. According to London Library of Things the average drill is used for 13 minutes in it's lifetime. Ours are used every week!


We help people keep money in their pockets and to earn money too!

  • Our carpet cleaner and steam cleaners are very popular with renters to get their places spic and span- and get their renters deposits back
  • Our folding tables have been used at many a craft fair while people try out new micro enterprises.


How we’ll spend the money raised

We run on volunteers, (We have no paid staff), who run on tea. This Crowdfunder will keep us in rent (and teabags) so we can keep the doors open for another year.

Help us help each other with library of things- lending, make and mend- mending, "free shops" so you can share your things with people who can use them..,

In Summer 2024 we plan to launch a mobile "Beach Library" of Things- lending buckets and spades and giving out rubbish bags to help keep our beaches free of plastic waste.

In Jan/Feb 2024 we plan to run an electronic waste project, fixing old smart phones and giving them to people to use, give data, and training, to cut down on electronic waste and alleviate social exclusion caused by data poverty



This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£25 or more

8 of 16 claimed

Exclusive Thank You Tea Party

We are hoping that if you've got this far then you quite like the idea of us. And we like you to, and we'd like to get to know you. Pledge £25 to be invited to a "VIP" Meet the Librarians (and Menders) Celebratory Tea party. We will set a date and a venue soon- but, it we want you to feel welcome so it will be accessible and we will do our darndest to meet any dietary challenges you have.

£5 or more

3 of 50 claimed

£5 Reward

Let's face it, no outfit can't be made cooler with a button badge. We make these ourselves with our own badge-maker. Join Hastings Library of Things and you can come and make your own!

£5 or more

3 of 50 claimed

Make and Mend Patch

Go back to the 80s with a patch for your jacket, bag, or teddy bear. Made from waste fabric, overlocked for neatness and stamped with our lovely Make and Mend Bexhill and Beyond logo.

£10 or more

10 of 30 claimed

Badge and Hastings Library of Things Membership

Give us a tenner and we will sign you up Hastings Library of Things Community/ Household membership for 1 year (worth £6) and send you a groovy Hastings Library of Things badge too! You can gift this membership to a friend or even a small community group or keep it for yourself. (Maybe a little Christmas present for the minimalist in your life?)

£20 or more

9 of 20 claimed

£20 Reward

For £20 we will gift you, or a pal or a community group of your choosing with 2 years of Hastings Library of Things membership. And we will send you a Hastings Library of Things badge so everyone will know how cool you are!

£30 or more

2 of 15 claimed

Customised 3D Printed Cookie Cutter

A customised 3D print using our recycled "eco filament". Choices include - animals, flowers, little tiny cars and more. This reward uses our new 3D printer, which we will be using to print bespoke parts to fix more things than glue alone allows! If you choose this option we will get in touch to agree a design and colour.

£35 or more

2 of 20 claimed

Recycled Tote Bag

A sturdy handmade foldable shopper with a Discreet "make and Mend or Hastings Library of Things Logo suitable for shopping or for gifting We are making our bags from 100% post consumer textiles, and of course, using the Hastings Library of Things sewing machines to bring them together Each bag is unique, fully lined and comes with not one, but 2 pockets!

£90 or more

0 of 3 claimed

Badge Making Workshop for you and up to 6 friends

Badges are cool. Badge-makers are cooler. Pledge £90 for a Make and Mend friendly workshop for you and up to 6 friends your friends, commit your own design to badge making posterity, tea and coffee, a happy helpful teacher to help you with the technical bits, materials included. Choose this reward and we will get in touch to agree a time and place.

£100 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Melt and Pour Soap Making Workshop

An exclusive Soap Making Workshop for you and up to 6 friends. Over 2.5 hours you will learn how to make "melt and pour" soap customised with botanicals and taking home an instruction printing plus your very own gift wrapped bar. Select this option and we will be in touch to agree a time and place.

£1,000 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Make and Mend will Build you a Coracle

You've heard our Make and Mend Gremlin say something about making a coracle? For £1000, she will make you a coracle. Willow sticks, canvas fabric, and a lot of waxing and waterproofing (and swearing, probably). You may even be able to watch if the timing is right.

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