This year Birmingham was graced with the honour of hosting the 22nd Commonwealth Games in what was a sporting spectacle but also an enormous feat of logistics, catering and graphic production.
With a solid sustainability agenda to adhere to, the Organising Committee had several plans in place to make sure not an inch of banner, sign or scrim went to waste once the Games were done.
The first port of call was to make sure all of the components used to construct the signage were made of the same recyclable monofibre material, this included eyelets, strengthening lengths and the banners themselves.
This ensured that entire pieces of fabric, should they not be repurposed, could be easily placed in a suitable recycling bin and not need deconstructing before being processed.
But before all the fabric was sent on its recycling journey, we at Event Cycle were tasked with repurposing as much as we could.
What a task this was. We repurposed a huge 8,872m2 of graphics from the cycling road races, running events, stadiums and arenas. From flags to fence scrim, banners to backdrops we found some fun and interesting uses for them all.
Making a vibrant, safe space
The Balsall Heath CATS- Children Action Team Support promotes social inclusion among families and carers of children and vulnerable adults with disabilities, to improve quality of care and life, and assists them to integrate into society.
In particular they provide play, recreational and educational activities, information and support for parents/carers and raise awareness of the issues affecting people with disabilities.
This summer they have been putting on drama classes for their community and while wanting to make sure the children have fun, they also need to make sure they feel safe and secure. BH CATS do this by covering the outdoor areas around their activities with material to protect the children’s privacy and provide a comforting space.
Until now, the fabric had been black and grey but with the donation provided by the Games, they now have a plethora of vibrant colours to choose from, creating a fun, visually stimulating space to house their temporary homes.
From cycling race to community games
Running 2 not-for-profit festivals a year for the community of Boldmere and beyond, Boldmere Futures bring together local businesses, residents, community groups, charities and councillors to promote and improve the area’s social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being. With a summer and winter festival to dress and limited funds to do so the team were on the lookout for some fun fabric to adorn their walkways, sports tracks and stages. So we sent some their way once we had collected it up.
The fence jackets will be used to make their entrance barriers more attractive for festivals, the scrim will be used in a variety of places around Boldmere including Wylde Green Station to brighten the place up and remind them of the triathlon being in Boldmere for B2022. The wraps will be used around lamp posts, bollards and other items.
A spikey customer
One of our cutest donations to date came in the form of sunshades for very small animals. Hedgehogs in fact.
Hedgepigs provide care, protection, treatment and security for a large number of the little creatures who are in need of rescue, care and attention through sickness, maltreatment, poor circumstances or ill use.
On top of this, the charity also provides advice and education to the general public concerning hedgehog welfare, highlighting the need to alleviate cruelty and suffering by increasing the understanding of their needs. They do this at a series of events, where they need table coverings and side panels for gazebos which they were lacking before the donations from the Games came along.
Another excellent way for fabric to be used is to make new products and Event Cycle have a very willing band of merry sewers waiting in the wings to do just that when fun fabric comes our way.
Reuse, not recycling
Little Recreations, Neith Textiles and Calluna Upcycling all work to produce new products made from old materials. From bags, to boxes, totes to festival flags, the three enterprises work their magic to make sure material has a longer life whilst daunting 10% of their profits to a chosen charity too. Check out their websites if you want a piece of the games.
Plenty of other organisations benefited too, including the 11th Nuneaton Scout Group, 786 Wolverhampton, Community Games, Help a Squaddie, Queen Alexandra College, Scrap Shack & Community RePaint and West Heath Community Association that support children, the community, veterans, the blind, visually impaired and those with disabilities between them.
The fabric will be used in activities, to help provide decor to new centres, buildings and as a resource for local schools, theatres and arts groups. They are finding many worthy ways to make use of the fabulous fabric kindly given to them by the Games.