UK's First 'Share Shop' Opens for business
A new kind of shop is aiming to transform the future of retail by lending rather than selling items and fostering more meaningful connections with the things we use
UK's First 'Share Shop' Opens for business
By Lucy Purdy /

SHARE - in Frome, Somerset - may be the first shop in the UK where lending rather than selling rules.

At this ‘borrowing hub’ items are loaned out rather than sold – and everything is personalised with the story of its previous owner. SHARE founders believe this nurtures trust and respect as well as providing a practical service.

The store also aims to reduce waste, save customers money and train young people with practical skills through workshops and social events.

People are asked to donate or lend useful, high quality items which the shop then lends out to others for several days at a time. Only a nominal fee is charged to borrow items: between £1 and £4.

At SHARE, all items are displayed with the object’s history and a photo of the person who donated it to encourage people to forge connections and introduce a richness of experience, arguably often missing from financial transactions.

The shop opened its doors this spring after eight unemployed young people were given just two months to get it up and running. They were set the challenge by community enterprise Edventure: Frome as part of specialist training in community entrepreneurship, which sees participants ‘learning through doing’.

One of the people involved, Maija Helena Powell, 21, said: “Working on this project has been a huge eye-opener for me. I can’t think of anywhere else where I’d have the opportunity to create a sustainable business from scratch and get involved with every step of the process – from writing a business plan to actually building the shop interior.

“It has really changed how I think of work – now it actually seems possible that I could make a living at the same time as doing something good for society.”

Frome’s town council provided start-up funding and it is hoped that the shop will become a fully self-sustaining enterprise within six months.

“Enabling people to share resources not only saves money but reduces waste and carbon too,” said Anna Francis, Frome Town Council’s energy and recycling officer. “The average electric drill is used for just 15 minutes in its lifetime and with many households feeling the pinch SHARE means everyone will be able to access the items they need – from tools to cookery to camping equipment – without the expense, hassle and storage needed to buy their own,” she added.

One man, Mark, donated a set of golf clubs to the shop accompanied by an interesting story of how he came to own them. He ended up with them after attending a conference at which delegates were asked to bring something of sentimental value. Mark brought his grandfather’s gold wedding ring but it was lost, so he took the golf clubs home instead.

“Years later,” explained Powell, “someone contacted him having cleared out their house and found his ring. They returned it with a note saying: ‘It’s about time you were reunited with this!’ Not knowing the true owner of the golf clubs he has now passed them on into the world through SHARE.”

SHARE joins a growing network of sharing services around the globe including Leila, the well- established ‘borrowing shop’ in Berlin. Library of Things in West Norwood, south London, recently surpassed a £12,000 Kickstarter funding target to build upon the “roaring success” of its pilot project. The team behind Library of Things is keen to open source the model and see a network of sharing shops growing across the UK.

4.6 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 10,437 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 8,298 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
F*ck That: A Guided Meditation for the Realities of Today's World
2 min · 7,431 views today · Just acknowledge that all that sh*t is f*cking b*llshit — you're here now, in this place, with your inner stillness. Take in a deep breath ... now breathe out. Just feel the...
25 Mind-Twisting Optical Illusion Paintings by Rob Gonsalves
Dovas · 6,183 views today · The beautiful and mind-bending illusions in Canadian artist Robert Gonsalves’ paintings have a fun way of twisting your perception and causing you to question what in his...
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change (2015)
11 min · 4,305 views today · Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping...
Who I'm Voting For...
3 min · 3,861 views today · Prince Ea announces who he's voting for. It's probably not who you think.
The Empire Vs. The People - Police Attack and Arrest Peaceful Protestors at the Dakota Access Pipeline
6 min · 2,331 views today · On October 22, just before dawn, hundreds of people, including many families, gathered and prepared to march toward the Dakota Access pipeline construction site near Standing...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,965 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
#Hypernormalisation - Why Heathrow Plan Is Proof We Exist in a Catastrophic Fantasyland
Matthew Adams · 1,868 views today · The British government recently gave the green light for Heathrow airport’s third runway. It was heralded by its supporters as a vital boost for jobs and growth – and proof...
The Burden of the New Story
Adebayo Akomolafe · 1,767 views today · The 'new story' - that longed for milieu when all is right with the world and things are set straight - seems to be taking its sweet time coming. Why?
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 1,539 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,430 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
These Incredible Stories Remind Us of Our Better Selves
36 min · 1,230 views today · #WhoWeAre is a campaign to share the stories of people whose actions show us compassion and to send a message of empathy, hope and optimism. These videos will automatically...
No Moral Superpower: Arundhati Roy, Edward Snowden, and the Crimes of Empire
Jake Johnson · 1,040 views today · When Arundhati Roy was preparing, in 2014, for a trip to Moscow to meet Edward Snowden, she was troubled by two things. One of them was the fact that the meeting was arranged...
'Maritime Graveyard': 2016 Deadliest Year Ever for Refugees Crossing Mediterranean
Deirdre Fulton · 1,038 views today · "From one death for every 269 arrivals last year, in 2016 the likelihood of dying has spiraled to one in 88," says UNHCR spokesman
Free Trade Explained In An Excellent Comic
Michael Goodwin, Illustrated by Dan E. Burr · 955 views today · The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are the latest in a long line...
Open Up - Have the Difficult But Important Conversations With Loved Ones
5 min · 881 views today · “The biggest casualty of humanity is the lack of communication, it’s the thing that breaks most relationships. It just feels so much better to talk and get it out.” There is...
Men Loving Men
Bianca Vivion · 715 views today · When my father was seven he and his best friend Phil cut their index fingers open and placed them together to create a “blood pact” that they would always be brothers. To this...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 665 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Ode to Lesvos
5 min · 660 views today · An inspiring story of a few remarkable heroes on the Island of Lesvos who helped almost half a million refugees in 2015 has been documented in a new short film called Ode to...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
UK's First 'Share Shop' Opens for business