Totnes’s Share Shed library of useful things, which has been told it will have to shell out £50 a month in rent for its base in a council garage, has said that it may well be on the move.
Town councillors voted to impose the rent after allowing the Share Shed team to use the garage free of charge for the last six months, despite a warning it could put the future of the embryo community operation at risk.
But this week the Share Shed organisers said they were happy to find the rent money – if they stayed on.
Network of Wellbeing’s Totnes project co-ordinator Mirella Ferraz said: “We are very grateful for the council, which has allowed us to use its premises free of charge for our six-month pilot. This has meant we could get the idea off the ground. We’re very happy to pay rent should we remain at the Guildhall garage – and at the very reasonable rate the council has offered. However, due to the limited space and the fact the venue hasn’t got a heating system, we’re also exploring other options.”
The Network of Wellbeing team launched the Share Shed earlier this year from the council-owned garage behind the Guildhall where the items available for loan are stored and which is open to the public on Saturdays from 10am-1pm for people to borrow them.
The Share Shed also relies on people donating equipment which can then be loaned out in return for cash donations.
Councillors had recommended that the Share Shed should start paying the £50-a-month rent from September 30 amid concerns that the council was losing out on income from the garage.
Some councillors felt the rent should be imposed incrementally to give the operation a better chance of success but others were adamant the amount was so small that if the Share Shed could not fund it, it would not succeed anyway.
Now in its third month the Share Shed now has more than 85 members and has been given more than 150 items to share out.
Mirella said the Share Shed users can borrow all sorts of useful things ranging from DIY materials, carpet cleaner, camping and gardening equipment, house appliances and much more.
She said the aim of the project is to support a more resourceful community while raising awareness about consumerism and caring for the planet.