I joined the Shrub as a member and volunteer on the summer of 2015, and quickly got drawn into the amazing project that it is and the incredible people that are tied to it. It was the summer of renovations, which was a perfect time to get involved and get hands on with painting some walls and building some shelves – which really made me feel part of the project. The more time I spent at the Shrub, the more I liked it, and that was why I decided to run for the Board of Directors that November, in a fantastic AGM that coincided with my birthday and involved cake, music and lots of dancing.
Now it’s been a year, and it really feels like time has flown by, and ridiculously quickly at that – from starting the REVOLVE accreditation process to getting Volunteer Management training, and from meeting to meeting with hummus and falafel interludes (so many) and amazing consensus-based decision making processes. That was one of the most appealing things of the Shrub for me – it’s horizontal structure and it’s co-operative status provides the freedom to explore new ideas and initiatives, from upcycling workshops to the Bikes for Refugees project.
As I got more and more involved, I also learnt about how to run a small organisation: HR processes, staff recruitment, getting accreditation and applying for funding. Although some bits could prove challenging and even frustrating at times (why so much bureaucracy, why?!) it was also a good learning experience for me and a way to break away a bit from the student bubble into an organisation that is trying to have a practical impact on the local community.
Having been a SwapShop volunteer before gave me a good grounding of how the SwapShop works, so I could bring that particular knowledge into the Board of Directors, while other directors would know more about Food Sharing, the Wee Spoke Hub or CineShrub. But becoming a director didn’t just entail looking at the day to day running of the Shrub (which I still enjoy doing from time to time) but to think about how to make this amazing project sustainable in future years. That in itself has been both a daunting and extremely positive process.
It’s easy to wonder whether our individual actions are having an impact, but rather than seeing it in an individual basis I think we should look at our collective power. I love the Shrub both in theory and in practice, and being a director has allowed me to meet loads of new folk, make new friendships, learn loads and contribute (even if a small amount in the greater scheme of things) to the fight against consumerist culture and climate change through collective organisation. Let’s keep this amazing place going!
Board Member, Shrub Swap & Reuse Hub Cooperative
Want to join Pablo on the Board? Fill out this super quick form and, if you can, come along to the AGM on Wednesday 23rd November from 6pm at the Shrub.