I am excited to share news about the Exchange Project which has been running for 8 years, sharing items used in raising children between the ages of 0-10 years. The idea is simple and it is beautiful. Exchange items you do not need for items you do.
We live in a world of excessive consumption. The impact of our demands can be observed, felt and are lived globally for example with child labour, slavery, workers working in dangerous conditions, and the negative impact of production and waste upon the environment and nature. This consumption is also driven by waste, our waste. So much of what we dispose of is of use and can assist the lives of others and by recycling our actions are kinder to nature and the environment.
The Exchange Project recognises this and is part of the East End Community Foundation, which runs across the East End of London.
Barbara who has volunteered at the Exchange Project for 8 years kindly explained how it works. On your first visit you pay £1 to become a life-long member. If you see any item you like you can purchase it for 50p. When you become a member, you can bring 6 items to the project and exchange them for any other 6 items of your choice. If you want more than 6 items you have to pay 50p for each extra item. For example, if you bring 3 items, you can exchange them for another 3 items and if you want to take away more, you pay 50p for each extra item taken. (Note – you cannot bring more than 6 items in and take out more than 6 items in an exchange only).
The project also accepts donations, so you do not have to exchange items. All items relating to childcare between the ages of 0-10 can be exchanged or donated. Items must be in good condition and reusable to be accepted by the Project (items are checked on entry).
Barbara said that some of the items exchanged include: clothes, toys, nappies, baby food (sealed and in date), prams, high chairs, baby walkers, baby baths and books etc. The Project is unable to take car seats as they may have been involved in an accident.
The project has a passion for linking people in the community together, linking need with supply so that things are not wasted. Speaking to Heather, a volunteer at the project, she explained that everyone who comes here are facing the same issues, it is here for people of all financial means.
Walking around the Exchange Project in Tower Hamlets, I was happy to see how lovely and diverse it looked. Items were carefully and beautifully displayed and the variety of items available, it could easily have been the children’s department in a store. I saw a variety of mums with young children come and go, with their selected items. Whiles mums and dads shopped the children seemed to enjoy exploring what was on offer too.
The Exchange Project also runs in Newham.
“People are just choosing to be wise with their money, why pay more when you can get it here knowing there are going to be other expenses in child raising, ” says Heather, a volunteer at the Exchange Project
“I think it is a good idea because when people have got no money they can come here and get clothes for their children,” explained Barbara a volunteer at the Exchange Project.
The Tower Hamlets Exchange Project runs from 9.00am-12.00pm on Tuesdays at the Barkantine Community Centre, Westferry Road, E14 (Opposite Sir John McDougal Gardens).
The Newham Exchange Project runs from 10.00am-12.00pm on Wednesdays at Jack Cornwell Centre, Jack Cornwell Street, Manor Park, London, E12 5NN.
If you would like to donate any unwanted baby goods you can telephone 020 7345 4446.
To the Exchange Project and the East End Community Foundation, I would like to say thank you for this wonderful community initiative, for bringing people together, for sharing and for caring.
Peace and love.