For this month’s ‘Meet the Scheme’, we spoke to Peter, a volunteer from Community RePaint Bradford – one of our largest schemes in the network.

Peter, tell us a bit about Community RePaint Bradford.

In 2001, the journey of Community RePaint Bradford began just down the road from our current location, in the cellar of a children’s creative art project. Inspired by the amount of leftover paint that would have gone to waste, we made the first steps towards becoming part of the network. In that first year, we collected 3,009 tins of paint with one member of staff and worked with other local charities to reuse the paint.

From these small beginnings, we have grown as a scheme, through the hard work and dedication of both staff and volunteers. We are now an integral part of Bradford Organic Community Service, whose aim is to provide services of environmental and social benefit. The organisation works to protect and preserve the environment by reusing, reclaiming and recycling as many waste products as possible.

Paint Area at Community RePaint Bradford Community RePaint Bradford manager Karen Hutchinson and volenteer Lawrence Knowles.Community RePaint Bradford paint area and scheme manager Karen Hutchinson and volunteer Lawrence Knowles.


The majority of our paint comes from eight local recycling centres, where we collect paint which has been dropped off by local residents. We also accept usable paint from local businesses, retailers, decorators and traders.

Due to the large amount of paint we collect, we always have a large variety of paint types and colours. The scheme also often stock painting accessories, such as rollers and paint brushes. Community RePaint Bradford really is your one-stop-shop for your next paint project.

Paint area at Community RePaint Bradford Community RePaint Bradford manager Karen Hutchinson and volunteer Lawrence Knowles process reusable paint. Dulux sponsor community RePaint.Community RePaint Bradford paint area and scheme manager, Karen Hutchinson


Can you tell us what your typical working day is like at Community RePaint Bradford and top tips for managing your scheme?

Customers form a big part of our day, and we try to find every customer what they need, offering advice about different uses for paint. We often find many of our customers are new to painting and appreciate the support and suggestions from our team. If the colour that the customer is looking for isn’t on the shelf, we do our best to mix what they need.

Collection days involve visiting eight household waste and recycling centres in the local area. Once we get the paint back to our warehouse, we check each and every tin to see what is still usable. Once checked, the paint is sieved and mixed to create new colours. We wash out usable tubs to refill with paint, trying to reuse as much as we possibly can without waste. The paint tubs are painted to show the colour, to make it easy for customers to see what colour is in the tin.

Tins are then placed on shelves in the display area, organised by paint type and colour. This makes it easier for the customer to find exactly what they’re looking for.

Our top tip for managing a scheme is always stay focused on the ethos behind what you do. We feel that the most important thing is to help and support the people in our community. We do this mainly by providing paint to those who need it most but often can’t afford it, ensuring that everyone can decorate their home in the way they want. We also apply this to the volunteers who work so hard for us, recognising and enabling the skills they have, and always making them feel part of the team.

Community RePaint Bradford collecting paint from HWRCs Processing paint at Community RePaint BradfordCommunity RePaint Bradford collecting and processing paint


What inspired you to want to save paint from going to waste?

I think the biggest inspiration is discovering just how much usable paint ends up in landfill or incinerated every day. The numbers are staggering, and during my time at Community RePaint Bradford, it’s become clear just how much usable paint is thrown away.

As well as that, the price of paint is very high, making it very difficult for people on a low income to buy good quality paint. The impact that low cost paint can have on an individual who struggles to afford basic things is striking. A family’s happiness on realising they can choose any colour without increasing cost, and create the home that they want, shows me the importance of Community RePaint to our community.

What have been Community RePaint Bradford’s biggest achievements this far?

We’re proud that Community RePaint Bradford is one of the largest schemes in the network. Between 2011 and 2021, we have collected over 543,000 litres of paint. Without the scheme’s hard work and determination, this paint would have gone to waste. Over the last year, we have served over 1400 members of the community, providing them with paint, advice, and support. We love nothing more than hearing from customers who have used our paint and seeing the amazing things they have created.

We have also been the first point of call for community groups, charities and artists to come along for affordable paint. We have supplied paint for numerous murals across the region since opening in 2001. These include Bradford in Spires, Jacob Well subway, Community Art in Todmorden and Ashford Care Home.

A volunteer painting the community mural at the Bradford Interchange. The volunteer is painting the outline of a notable building on a yellow paint panel. A painted community mural at Bradford Interchange. The paint used was purchased from Community RePaint Bradford. The painted mural is in a range of colours including red, peach, blue, white, and yellow panels. On each panel a line drawing of a notable building in Bradford has been painted. “Bradford in Spires” mural painted using paint from Community RePaint Bradford


Painting tips and tricks from the scheme: 

Scheme manager, Karen Hutchinson, is a trained painter/decorator by trade, so has a lot of knowledge to share with customers on how to decorate. We filmed a series of network videos with Karen, where she covers the best type of paints to use, preparing your walls, choosing and using the right roller, and many more helpful tips and tricks. Watch the YouTube playlist below!

If you visit the scheme, feel free to quiz Karen on all your decorating questions and she’ll be more than happy to help!


What’s next for Community RePaint Bradford?

Currently we’ve just received funding to purchase new shelving and other fittings for the shop. This will give the shop a much needed facelift and make it even easier for customers to find what they need. This also includes new mixing tables and new uniforms for the workers. We will tie in this refurbishment with a big marketing push to attract new customers.

In 2022, we are hoping to expand into surrounding areas of Bradford and South Yorkshire. The vision is to redistribute more paint to the wider areas, to create communities where everyone has the opportunity to brighten their spaces and their lives.

Click here for further information on Community RePaint Bradford and how to purchase affordable paint. You can also keep up to date with their latest news and stories via their Facebook page.

Why not share this article with someone you know to help them save money and the environment.

Meet the scheme: community repaint bradford

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