Who We Are

We’re a cooperative in Edinburgh working for a world without waste!

We empower our community to live a low carbon life. Become a member and learn to fix a bike, swap your preloved things, enjoy some rescued food and be inspired by new ideas.

Our Purpose

  1. To provide a welcoming space for rethinking our relationship to waste, reducing consumption and developing effective use of resources
  2. To support community empowerment in Edinburgh, learning and sharing skills to make a practical difference to the world we share
  3. To deliver innovative waste prevention, creative reuse and repair practices in a living laboratory of Circular Economy

Our Values

We value inclusivity and work with others to provide a welcoming community for all

We act with integrity and strive to be sustainable in everything we do

We live by co-operative values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity

Story of SHRUB

SHRUB Cooperative (formerly the Swap and Reuse Hub Cooperative (Edinburgh) Ltd) was registered as the UK’s first student-­led community co­operative. It was established as a not for profit company limited by guarantee in March 2013. As of November 2018, we are registered as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), meaning we have charitable status.

A large proportion of our members are students, mostly from the University of Edinburgh (UoE) but our membership is becoming increasingly diverse, incorporating individuals from a range of ages and backgrounds in the local community. We no longer describe ourselves as “student-led”, but instead we are “community-led”.

As a co­operative, the SHRUB operates an open membership policy (anybody above the age of 16 can apply for membership). You can join either by being a paying member or by volunteering.

SHRUB is organised non-hierarchically and governed through consensus decision making. Members are free to join in decision making and to stand for a position as a Trustee. Trustees are elected at the AGM and are legally liable for the Co­op.

How we operate - non-hierarchy

SHRUB is a community cooperative. We are a non-hierarchical organisation, which means that everyone has the right to have equal say in how we do things and what we decide to do.

We operate through consensus-based decision-making, which means that we discuss ideas until we get to a solution that everyone can agree with, and every member has the right to veto any new plans if they think they will be harmful.

We follow the cooperative principles below, and organise our work through working groups, which have autonomy in their own areas of work.

Our activities and spaces

SHRUB Coop currently has two spaces across Edinburgh, with several key areas of activity.

Members’ Working Groups

Working Groups are smaller groups made up of Members with Staff and Trustees, which cover areas including governance, fundraising and shop floor activities. These groups are voluntary commitments and there is no expected term length.

Meetings are held regularly and while decisions that will affect the wider SHRUB community may not be made by these groups, they may produce policy proposals for either the Trustees or Steering Group to consider.

Our Working Groups

Swapshop: We look after the Swapshop which includes: organising donations, pricing items and greeting customers! Also includes our Sustainable Fashion activities and events.

Workshops & Events: We organise events and upcycling workshops to educate the community about sustainable living.

Food Sharing: We re-distribute excess food from businesses to the community through our Food Sharing Hub.

Wee Spoke Hub: We organise DIY workshops for you to learn how to fix your own bike with help from trained mechanics.

Cafe: We look after the Zero Waste Hub Cafe, helping provide a welcoming space for all the community.

Communications: We promote the coop’s activities and keep members informed about what’s happening.

Finance & Admin: We oversee general administration, maintaining financial records and forecasting. The group includes Monitoring and Evaluation, Bookkeeping, Management Accounts, Social Enterprise and Funding subgroups.

Funding: We research and bid for grant funding to support SHRUB’s projects and core operations.

Welfare: We ensure the wellbeing of members, if you are experiencing any problems within the community, you can get in touch with us at welfare@shrubcoop.org

Governance & Policy: We take care of the Coop’s decision making processes and other working practices and policies.

Human Resources: We ensure the wellbeing of our staff and offer them feedback and support.

Trustees: We are the legal guardians of the Coop, responsible for oversight of risk & compliance, human resources, monitoring & evaluation, funding, and member engagement.

Steering Group: We deal with the day-to-day decision making in the Coop and help to shape project development.

SHRUB Coop is supported through a combination of grant funding and generous donations from our community. We’re grateful for all their support. Find out more about our grant funders by clicking on the logos above.