Charity Environment

Let your creativity flow at Orinoco

By Helena Clennett at

Oxford scrapstore Orinoco is preparing to inspire more budding artists and crafters than ever before after a revamp for 2017.

New manager Dan Harris said: “We wanted to get people to look at the store with fresh eyes. We have a new vision for 2017 as we build up to our 25th anniversary next year. We want to make more connections with the community in Oxford, and we love selling to local Wood Farm people who find coming here inspiring. We are hoping to start workshops this Spring to allow people who come here to share their skills and hopefully bring in others who aren’t so creative and inspire those people too.”

The store is filled with various odds and ends that may appear fit for nothing but the dustbin to the uninitiated, but spend ten minutes here and you will realise this is far from the case.

The project claims to have sold 532 kg of resources so far in 2017, and saved them from landfill. Items on offer include donations from industrial manufacturers such as those making paint, materials and fabrics, cards and CDs amongst many other resources.

Dan added:” We are currently looking for someone to supply us with wine bottle corks as demand always outstrips supply! The vibrancy of Orinoco is about the people who come here, the resources are just stuff but the people bring them to life. ‘The Big Make’ is our monthly competition that challenges the community to make inspiring things out of a specified material. Last month it was CDs, and we had some really creative projects – a paint pallet made from a CD with milk bottle tops stuck to it, a robot and a spaceship.”

February’s ‘Big Make’ is focusing on upcycled cotton bags which will then be showcased at the Orinoco show at ‘Refashion’. The event is being held on 11 March at Oxford Town Hall from 12-6pm. Organised by Oxford County Council and Low Carbon Oxford, it brings businesses, community groups, students and volunteers together to highlight the problem of disposable fashion and encourages people to swap and recycle used garments.

Dan said: “Our show will feature contributions by the ‘Woodcraft Folk’, students from Oxford Brookes University and we are hoping to engage with local primary schools and community groups too. It is a great opportunity to showcase our work countywide.”

While you can become a member of Orinoco, everyone is welcome to shop at the Bullingdon Community Centre store and new volunteers are always welcome too.

Dan added: “We currently need people who are willing to share their skills at the Saturday workshops, but we also need volunteers to help with sorting supplies and serving customers.”

Leslie Midwinter has been volunteering at Orinoco as a resources officer for eight years and clearly enjoys his role. He said: “As our motto says, I come here to ‘banish boredom’ for three days a week. I sort paint, check items are worthy for resale and serve customers. On the days I’m not here I enjoy collecting potential stock from wheelie bins and skips! ”

For more information and opening times look at and for more information on ‘Refashion’ go to