Sometimes the world can do with a bit more colour – which is exactly what Seagulls Reuse has been doing for the past seventeen years. Developed by Cat and Kate around the latter’s kitchen table back in 2001, the enterprise collects and reuses paint that would otherwise go straight on the landfill, which has since grown into an established and well-loved social endeavor.Cat, Kate and the Seagulls Team have been hard at work diverting over 900,000 litres of paint for reuse in that time, having worked with over 500 volunteers and now providing employment for a team of 18. In addition to paint, the enterprise also runs a community arts project: Seagulls Mosaic, creating beautiful murals and installations with the public that have brightened up many a dull corner across Leeds.
All profit that Seagulls Reuse makes (whether it’s from paint sales or mosaic workshops) gets put back into the business, which sustains a fantastic volunteer program that benefits both people and the planet – so what’s not to love?
Despite having gone from strength to strength, the team aren’t resting on their laurels anytime soon. In fact, they’re hoping to expand on the work they’ve already done – but Seagulls can’t do it alone. From their base at Aire Mills, Seagulls Reuse plans to utilise new and additional space to fulfil their vision of helping as many people as possible. That’s where you come in.
Cat, Kate and the team hope to raise £50,000 in order to push the project further through a crowdfunding campaign. This money will go towards building a new paint reprocessing and storage area that will enable them to move the majority of paint mixing out of the paint store (which will then be improved) and build two more workshops for screen printing and upcycling furniture. They also want to create a relaxed social area for volunteers and staff, who are arguably at the heart of the enterprise, and finally set up a plastic refill shop – starting with their most popular basic refills but then looking to expand product range of reusable and environmentally friendly products.
It’s a big ask, but it’s a big feat – more and more paint comes through Seagulls’ doors every day, which means the team has to ensure it has enough resources to continue doing great work. They’ve taken on the space needed to do this and now need funds to make these ideas a reality.
After all, the team are a tough, hardworking bunch. They suffered a huge hit as a result of the Boxing Day Floods in 2015, submerging all of Seagulls underwater (in some areas paint pots were bobbing in water over a metre deep!) But with the kindness and willingness of people, including a good bit of elbow grease, they were back up and running within two weeks.
The spirit of “people power” is a huge part of what makes Seagulls great. You can be part of that.
So, to show their appreciation for your kindness in helping them out, Seagulls are offering a number of “perks” through their crowdfunding Indiegogo page. There are multiple levels of donations, going from that £5 you would’ve spent on a guilty frothy coffee to a £1,000 – but you’ll get something back, too. You can get your hands on liters of paint, to framed prints featuring photography from their gorgeous “Beauty From The Flood” exhibition, upcycled retro furniture and even quirky little Seagulls pins to show your good deed off in style. More perks will be added as the campaign grows, so all the more reason to indulge your “giving glow.”
But even if you can’t donate you can still help Seagulls Reuse achieve their vision. Come and buy your paint from the store, tell everyone you can about their fantastic plastic refill shop, try your hand at mosaic or upcycling at one of their workshops – or even come along and volunteer a few hours of your time to help out the team.
Cat and Kate are a passionate duo, and are exceedingly proud that Seagulls manages to juggle a triple bottom line: Planet People Profit. But in order to build momentum for their enterprise and ensure its stability for the next 20 years, they need your donations. Every pound you give makes a huge difference to this fantastic social cause, which brilliantly helps a huge variety of people while saving the environment that we live in.