Olympia has fallen… to the Croydon ReUse Organisation


By - Tuesday 11th April, 2017

The Croydon ReUse Organisation took its message to the national Ideal Home Exhibition – and took no prisoners


Eunice Dickinson storms Olympia.
Photo author’s own.

Newsflash: On Tuesday 28th March, members of the Croydon ReUse Organisation breached gate 35 of the Olympia Exhibition Hall. Posing as confused stallholders, a parking space was negotiated and various doors were opened to enable tools, equipment and stock samples to be brought in and achieve a successful infiltration in full daylight, right under the noses of the internal security team.

Once inside, they introduced themselves to the team running the Interior Lifestyle Stand, set up the stage, were then mic’d up ready to go onstage and deliver a workshop to the unsuspecting public. Newsflash ends.

And so it was that Eunice and Andrew Dickinson took Olympia and the stage at the Ideal Home Show on behalf of the borough of Croydon, to big up what great stuff has happened and is intended to happen in the future within the walls of the Croydon ReUse Organisation (CRO). CRO, just a mere two weeks earlier, had been asked to deliver several workshops over the three week duration of the Ideal Home Show but, with only one week’s annual leave left, agreed to three workshops over two days. The subject? ‘How to build a coffee table using waste pallets’.

Owned: the audience.
Photo author’s own.

There’s an overused phrase on TV singing competitions about performers ‘owning the stage’ – but that’s exactly what Eunice did as she strutted, sanded, cut and hammered. This was on the same performance space where global superstar Laurence LLewelyn-Bowen, only hours earlier, had done the same thing at the start of the morning. Eunice moved off the stage to interact with the audience and asked them to feel the texture of the wood before it was sanded and then repeated the same after it was sanded. Oval head nails were passed among them and by the end of the forty-five minute workshops, as the applause died down, several of them approached the stage to talk to Eunice. All shared a common desire: wanting to learn and use skills to make something with their hands and turn perfectly good waste into something useful.

In terms of a business opportunity, it’s unlikely that the workshops will lead to any orders of furniture – but the chance to present at such a high profile, prestigious, enduring show still was too good to pass up. To be able to explain the positives that had happened and also to hear the names Croydon ReUse Organisation and Green Croydon (parent company and website) being spoken about by others to a national audience was worth the hassle of a few stressful days and late nights leading up to it, two days annual leave, fuel, expensive refreshments and a bad back!

It’s just a shame that we never got to meet Laurence!

Andrew Dickinson

Andrew Dickinson

I'm a long term resident of Croydon and I'm lucky to live and work in the borough. As a schoolboy my proudest moments were playing representative football for Croydon where I would fight tooth and nail to win for the borough and contribute towards its sporting reputation. For 18 years I worked up in London and became distanced from the town. Now I've re-engaged with the place over the last 20 years and feel frustrated in finding a way to vent my passion for Croydon (as I'm too old to play football) so I'm always on the lookout for any new initiatives to bring positivity to the place. I live on Bramley Hill with my lovely family and I have an allotment locally. I'm a keen amateur in gardening, environmentalism, permaculture, photography and website design. I'm an oyster mushroom farmer, run a social enterprise called Green Croydon, I'm part of the Croydon Fairtrade steering group, part of the Croydon ReUse Organisation, current chair of Croydon Transition Town and a community gardener; I'm on the borough Food Programme, Parks and Social Enterprise steering groups and a community apple presser. I currently work for the council as an officer creating and promoting community events in the beautiful Wandle Park. I put on the Croydon Environmental Fair each year and the Summer of Love theme and festival was something I dreamed up. I inspired the 'I would make Croydon better by' theme. There's also the Give and Take events in Surrey Street. I started the monthly Arts, Crafts and Vintage market in Exchange Square. Formerly I was a Turf Projects trustee, a Croydon Radio presenter and part of the Old Town business association.Between all this, I write the occasional article for the Citizen. I support local artists and local musicians by enabling the space for them to create I also support local independent journalism.

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  • http://idioplatform.com/ Jonny Rose

    “Eunice and Andrew” – you two could be the new “Phil & Kirsty” or “Alan & Charlie”! On our screens teaching interior and garden redesign :)

  • blath8@googlemail.com

    Fantastic job, both of you :-) . There are so many things out there that could be reused , and upcycled into once-again-useful things. I hope that you’re kept very busy making renewed items at CRO. And hope your back improves, you’ve got an allotment to dig!