For this month’s ‘Meet the Scheme’, we spoke to Scott Clelland, Painting Trainer at New Start Highland, host of our Community RePaint Highlands scheme.

Scott, what do you do at New Start Highland, how did you get involved with the Community RePaint network, and why you became a Community RePaint scheme?

I work for a social enterprise / charity called New Start Highland, whose aim is to help tackle homelessness, poverty and long-term unemployment in the Sottish Highlands. I am a fully qualified painter and decorator and work at New Start Highland as a painting trainer while also running our Community RePaint scheme.

In my role, I work with people who are looking to get back into work or have an interest in painting and are looking to learn basic decorating and upcycling skills. Alongside this, with the assistance of trainees at New Start Highland, I also run our Community RePaint scheme, assisting customers find the best paint for their project.

The scheme was started before I joined the team at New Start Highland and predominantly aims to redistribute leftover paint to vulnerable people in the Highlands, linking to New Start Highland’s own mission. For a very long time, our organisation was the host of Scotland’s only Community RePaint scheme, but there are now also additional schemes in Glasgow and Arbroath.

Scott Clelland at Community RePaint Highlands


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

Each day I work with various different trainees to help them develop new skills and improve existing ones while on their path to a new career. Working with paint is a great way to help with this, as when the trainees see the results of a finished project, it gives them a great feeling of accomplishment. Whilst working with us, each trainee’s attendance to sessions is monitored, so that they can share a timesheet with future employers, to show how good their attendance has been, giving them an advantage to a new job over other candidates.

At the moment, our main focus is upcycling, and trainees use paint from our Community RePaint scheme, that’s been passed on for reuse by local businesses, in their different projects. Alongside this, every time we receive a paint offer at our Community RePaint scheme, our trainees help with the process to progress each paint offer, quality checking and sorting the paint to get it ready for redistribution. Once processed and sorted, the paint is displayed on the shelves at our Community RePaint shop and local schools, charities and clients of ours who use our housing support team can then access and pick up the paint at affordable prices for their home and community projects.

This trainee has since gone on to work within a local council.


Over the last 15 years what have been your scheme’s biggest achievements?

Throughout the last 15 years, we have really worked hard to develop the scheme. Most months now, we distribute at least 500 litres of leftover paint back into the local community, helping individuals, families, community groups and other organisations repaint and refresh their homes and community venues.

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

A few years ago, Gledfield Primary School requested our help to repaint the school’s sheds and benches – it was brilliant project and the outdoor structures were refreshed with a new coat of paint in a really cost effective way. Find out more about this past project here.  

House in rural scotland. before and after shed paint.

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

If you are new to painting, my biggest painting tip is to always start with a job you feel comfortable with, and once completed build up over time to tackling the bigger jobs. Always make sure to use paint in the correct order, missing out undercoat will only come back to cause you problems in the future.

What’s next for Community RePaint Highlands?

In years to come we want to help divert more paint from waste and  helping as many people as we can in the highlands.

For more information about Community RePaint Highlands, click here to view their scheme page.

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