For this month’s ‘Meet the Scheme’, we spoke to Barrie Latham, Head of Operations & Retail at Community RePaint Cheshire.

Barrie, tell us a bit about Changing Lives Together, and why you became a Community RePaint scheme?

I have been working at Changing Lives Together, who host Community RePaint Cheshire, for three-and-a-half years in total with two-and-a-half years spent in the paint area. I was a volunteer for my first year where I experienced a range of activities from sales, woodwork/ joinery, building flatpack furniture and upcycling old and preloved items of furniture.

I already had a passion for upcycling and reuse and whilst completing these activities we used the paint obtained through the Community Repaint Scheme. When a job became available working on the scheme I was interested and fortunate to get it! I love to play apart in reducing waste, particularly seeing the volumes of paint people are willing to dispose of, and helping the people who need it most in our community.

Community RePaint fits in with Changing Lives Together’s aim to protect the environment by reusing and recycling pre-loved goods.

Paint area at Community RePaint Cheshire Staff working at Community RePaint CheshirePaint area at Community RePaint Cheshire


Can you tell us what your typical working day is like and possibly share your top tip for managing your Community RePaint scheme?

On a daily basis we sort through high volumes of paint as our transport team collects multiple times per week keeping stock in good quantity. We check every tin of paint and assess whether it is reusable or not. We process good paint and label the tin with quantity and price, paint the lids of tins to show the colour and ensure our sales stock is full. We process waste/ non-reusable paint by disposing of it into a designated IBC awaiting collection from a specialist company to dispose of correctly.

A big part of the day is assisting customers wishing to purchase paint by offering advice and helping them find what they need. We also ensure that our housekeeping standards are kept to a high-level therefore a lot of time is spent cleaning whether on-the-go or regular clean-ups.

What have been Community RePaint Cheshire’s biggest achievements thus far?

We’re proud of the amount of paint we have saved from going to waste. Between 2013 and 2021, we prevented 164,714 litres of paint from going to waste. We’ve redistributed this paint to local individuals, families and community organisations to brighten their spaces and homes.

Another big is the training and employment the Community RePaint scheme has provided to local people, including myself. We pride ourselves in offering work experience and volunteer opportunities within Changing Lives Together. These opportunities provide knowledge and skills for people of all ages, to help them find future work.

Barrie at Community RePaint CheshireBarrie Latham, Head of Operations & Retail at Community RePaint Cheshire.


Do you have any stories from the community you’d like to share?

I enjoy talking with customers and discussing their projects and why type of paint/colours they are looking for. I assist them in finding what they need and we often see customers returning to purchase more. They often share pictures of their projects which is great to see our paint being put to such good use. I love this aspect of my job.

I would love to see more community projects using our paint. We did have a customer, who runs a local club, purchase large quantities from us which he used to revamp the premises.

Do you have any painting tips that you can share with us?

Preparation is always key. I recommend:

  • Sand and prime previously painted woodwork.
  • Use masking tape for clean lines, e.g. skirting boards, wall dividers
  • Use a paint brush to ‘cut in’ along edges and use roller for larger areas
  • Use a basecoat on less than perfect walls prior to painting for a smoother finish
Community RePaint Cheshire Community RePaint CheshirePaint area at Community RePaint Cheshire


What’s next for Community RePaint Cheshire?

We hope to expand our Community RePaint scheme to be able to process even more paint, save it from going to waste, and redistribute it to the community. We are planning to increase our marketing to raise awareness of the work we do and reach a wider audience. We also hope to help more community projects and provide them with surplus paint to brighten up community centres, village halls, and paint for murals to brighten the streets.

Click here for further information on Community RePaint Cheshire and how to purchase affordable paint. Why not share this article with someone you know to help them save money and the environment.

Meet the scheme community repaint cheshire

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