PlayWorks Resource Centre

Many people who visited PlayWorks first did so as they were visiting the scrap store. Since 1986 when the first resource centre opened on Bullivant Street until PlayWorks closure in 2019, the Scrap Store served hundreds of play projects, schools, artists and students, which has in turn benefitted thousands of children across Nottingham and beyond.  

How it worked 

Play Projects, Schools and community groups could sign up as a member for a small annual fee and collect a trolley or basketful of various scrap materials such as cardboard, ribbon elastic, a whole host of goodies for free. 

There was a bulk buy scheme, resources such as paint, glue and other consumables required for play were bought in bulk and sold much cheaper than found elsewhere. 

In later years as funding was reduced, further charges had to be introduced but these were always kept as low as possible. 

The workers and volunteers in the scrap store would make creations from the resources that would be dotted around the scrap store as inspiration for creative projects. 

How it benefitted children 

The Playwork ethos is that children should have access to ‘loose parts’ meaning resources and materials to support their play that could be used freely as the child decidesPerhaps the most fantastic thing about the resources from the scrapstore was their extremely low cost and that they could be used in so many ways. Playworkers didn’t have to be precious about how they were used and therefore children could explore their creativity. 

Where did the scrap come from? 

Playworks had relationships with local companies large and small, such as Boots, John Lewis, and local fabric producers who donated waste material, excess stock and seconds that would otherwise be thrown away and end up in landfill.  

They were members of the Federation of Resource Centres – FORC, and would often exchange resources with other members from around the country, as far afield as Bristol and Scotland. All to ensure children across the UK had a wide range of scrap to play and make with! 

Resource centres were forward thinking in their approachrecycling and upcycling long before it became mainstream. The Scrap Store in Nottingham is sadly missed.