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  • Lukas enjoying his slides.

    A collective “Thank you”

    I just want to say a collective “Thank you” to everybody who makes and has been making Freegle (and formerly Freecycle), work well. I have both given and been given not only great items but also great experiences.

    Possibly the most wonderful experience was to receive two guinea pigs – Minilli and Guinea Lee – complete with cage and outdoor hutch and run, both stayed with me till they died and are and were hugely missed.(Editor Note: Some groups allow pets)

    I also received a lot of my first home furnishings from Freegle: table, chairs, sofabeds; and a lot of childrens toys, clothes and baby items which I would have never bought myself new or even second-hand, but then turned out to be extremely useful. For example the Baby Bjoern sling and the baby swing, providing me some much needed calm and quiet time when needed most with my first.

    Another of the most wonderful experience was to receive a slide after having posted a “wanted ad”, the lady in question, Imogen, turned out to be so helpful as in first persuading her neighbour to give me the slide, and then helped me to take it apart loosening the rusty screws, so it would fit in the car, she was so hands-on and brought out her tools, too.

    It was really amazing. Of course she was the first priority when I gave away our single bed then and as she also is German and a midwife we get on really well and promised ourselves to visit the Anglo-German club together after the summer holidays. The slide is a huge hit with my 3-year old, the neighbours kids and even the teenage cousins.

    When picking-up items I have been to part of Leeds, Edinburgh and surrounding suburbs I have never been before and met people from different cultures, ages, backgrounds, classes I would not have otherwise met, so it is a hugely interesting experience that way, too.

    Before and after moving Freegle has been hugely helpful with clearing out items from both homes. It always a relieving feeling to know that it did not go to landfill and is still appreciated because of its user value, rather than its monetary value.

    Sometimes I really love the feeling that I have given something directly to someone who really needed it, rather than to charity shop, where a huge percentage of the item value gets spend on administration, rent and staff costs before helping others or those items either get thrown away, too, if they are of no monetary value.

    Ulla, Leeds and Edinburgh Freegle

  • I hadn’t realised it was him offering

    My doorbell just rang. A near neighbour was carrying a garden kneeler I’d spotted and asked for on Freegle yesterday – I hadn’t realised it was him offering it, but he recognised my email address. It took him less time to walk round with it than to reply to my email!

    D P, Dursley Freegle

  • Little circles

    I have a number of alternative parenting/pregnancy and birthing books that I’ve built up over the years (homebirth, lotus birth, empowering books, extended breastfeeding, natural child spacing, etc…) and although offered on Freegle, no-one has yet asked about them (well, one woman wanted one of them). This might sound funny but these books have become a bit like ‘my babies’ and I’ve really wanted them to go to a good home where they will serve someone else as they have served me at those times when I’ve had little or no support from the medical community. Those times when they’ve tried to push me into a hospital delivery, for instance, when I’ve gone ‘over’ my ESTIMATED due dates (they forget these are ‘estimated’), even right back to 1992 when no-one in my community was having homebirths anymore (at that time) and the midwives and doctors were trying to get me to forgo my homebirth in favour of something ‘safer’ (in their opinion. As it happens, the ONLY time I picked up an infection during childbirth that, in the past, would have killed me was AT the maternity hospital, along with several other women at the same time. I’ve had no problems whatsoever with any of my 3 homebirths).

    Anyway, a lady from Freegle wrote to me this morning saying she’d seen the list of alternative birth/parenting books I had on offer and would I consider donating them to local branch of The Hypatia Trust, which serves a local community of women – to support and empower them in their choices. It seems perfect! There, LOTS of women will have access to them… just what I wanted! These are books you won’t find in bookshops unless you specifically order them and even then, some of them will be hard to get hold of as they’re not average mainstream books. So I went to their webpage just now and saw that their website has been ‘built’ by my old dentist! Just funny how these circles present themselves – all these things (my old dentist, Freegle, alternative parenting, The Hypatia Trust) that seem so disconnected, now connecting up! :-)

    Another lady from Freegle contacted me afterwards and asked if I’d consider donating them to an organisation called the ‘Cornwall Natural Parenting & Slingmeet Group’ where actually I feel they’ll be much better placed (as the first lady said when I talked with her about it to see if she’d mind – The Hypatia Trust tends to have an older readership so they may not reach the people I hope they will)…. I’m just off to tell the second lady that yes, they can have the books!

    Maya Penzance freegle

  • I’m disorganised

    I always try to post a thank you message to folks straight after picking up, but I confess that sometimes I’m disorganised. The trouble is, once you realise how much fun, or use you’re having, a few months later, it’d feel odd to get in contact again so late, and I’ve often lost the e-mail address, so I thought I’d use the cafe to say a few thank you’s. The right people may not read them, but maybe they’ll give you all a warm feeling for things you’ve given away.

    So, thank you to the lady from Caversham who has provided my daughter with hours of fun, by just asking did I want some bath toys when I went to pick up some Megablocks (also good fun, BTW!) The Winnie the Pooh bath toys are in daily use, and helped us realise how much our little one’s speech was improving, as she asks for Tigger or Piglet each time! Thanks to the same lady for two stools designed for toilet training, but that are getting good use at my daughter’s (charity shop) easel.

    Thank you to a lady from West Reading for the small trampoline – it’s well loved – although little one currently dances on it, as she hasn’t yet mastered jumping!

    Thank you too to the little girl from Shinfield who passed on her fab pink trike to plenty of enjoyment (and only once to dozing off on it!)

    Thank you to someone in Shinfield for the piano many years ago! Rescued from her garage, our neighbours kindly helped the collection, and it looks fabulous. it’s been a source of entertainment for two of us for a long time, and now our daughter is experimenting!

    Thank you to the lady who was in Woodley, but was moving, for the highchair. That’s had a lot of use – usually several times a day.

    Thank you to yesterday’s pick-up of books for my little girl – each parent has already read them to her several times already!

    Thank you to the gentleman who responded to my “wanted” for a hairdryer – it doesn’t get used that often, but everytime it is, I am always so grateful!

    Thank you to someone from near town centre for the footspa – it was good to try, but we eventually re-freegled as we felt someone else might make better use of it.

    Thank you to the lady who lived near where my sister used to, for the fabulous lilac hat & brooch – I’ve worn them to two weddings already, and I’m sure those wont be the last.

    Thank you to the lady in Woodley who supplied a pushchair parasol, which helped reduce my maternal worries no end.

    Thank you to someone for the re-bounder / trampette / exercise trampoline. It did get good use, though not so much lately, so that might form part of the clear out I’m itching to do, in that magical time of “when things are a bit less busy.” One of the things that is fab about freegle is that you can give things a try, and if it doesn’t work out, or your life changes a bit, re-freegle it.

    Thank you to the person in Caversham whose blender has been used SOOOO much, and has helped make a lot of healthy vegetable soups, which I’m sure has been even more environmentally friendly than you’d have guessed, as those soups constantly help save me having to buy clothes in much larger sizes!

    Thank you to the lady just down the road from me, from the dressmakers patterns and offer of advice if needed. I never did take you up on it, but it was very kind of you. This was a few years before my little girl, and I passed the children’s ones onto a friend, who I think made several things for both her girls. (Where she finds the hours, I don’t know, but I’m glad they were used!)

    Thank you also to all the people who took things away – the space cleared has been wonderful, and I’m always happier if I think things are going to a good home! It’s definitely time for another clear out, so that’s added to the list of things I aim to do in June… or July if things run away from me, as usual.

    And of course if anyone feels the urge to offer a dressmakers’ dummy, an alto sax, or anything a toddler can have fun with, I’ll look forward to e-mailing you too!

    P.S. And an early thank you to the Woodley lady I’m arranging a pick-up with now – looking forward to enjoying the goodies!

    Gill Smith, Reading and Woodley Cafe

  • A Reel Bike Connection

    My grandchildren were coming to stay for a week and the six year old wanted to use our wide flat cycle paths to learn to ride a bike.

    She has one at home but it is hilly and lots of traffic near her.

    I Freegled for an appropriate size bike and had a response from one person.

    It worked and my granddaughter went home riding confidently and transferred her skills to her own bike.

    In order to clear space in the garage to store the bike I offered some out grown toys and a fishing rod and a reel.

    The first person to respond was the girl’s bike donor and he wanted the rod for his daughter.

    That felt like a really good swap!

    Liz, Hull Freegle

  • Six year old in training

    My train set dates back as far as 35 years ago when I was a little dot. It got built upon until I was around 15-16 and then boxed up and forgotten about whilst I got older. It was loaned out to a family member for many years and eventually returned when I asked for it back due to having become a father and having one boy that’s train mad. What was returned to me wasn’t everything that was borrow and certainly wasn’t in good condition. By this time I’d already got my 6 year old excited about “daddys great electric train set,” and even he could feel the disappointment when I started unpacking boxes only to be met with broken or damaged trains/track/stations/etc.

    A quick look on eBay and Friday Ad proved that I wasn’t in a position to replace what I wanted to so the plans my lad an I had made for the tracks had to be scaled down to something a bit more simple. By this time we had already boarded out the attic and built a raised table.

    I thought a cheeky request on Freegle might provide a few bits of track IF we were really lucky. Even when I posted the ad I really didn’t expect a single reply.

    Well, a single reply is all I got. It came from a very nice man just north of Lewes and said he had some track and a few bits that I was welcome to albeit in average to poor condition due to its age and the fact it had been in storage for 20+ years.

    When I arrived to have a look at what he had I was led to a garage and presented with two brimming storage boxes of track/trains/carriages/stations/scenery/controllers/bridges/etc. I was amazed. A quick rummage was enough to know that there were a lot of smiles in these boxes for me and my lad so I gratefully accepted them and rushed home.

    At home we emptied the boxes on the kitchen table and were both looking at each other saying “WOW” every 10 seconds as another gem was uncovered. The plans in our heads were scaling up again to building a couple of tracks and a goods shunting yard equal to anything seen on the Island of Sodor. Some of the kit might not work, some of it might be a bit damaged but that doesn’t matter. It’s going to be built and played with for years to come and will make at least two boys very happy (and a third when he gets old enough)

    A collector/enthusiast would have probably paid handsomely for what I was given. I don’t know how to value a permanent smile from a six year old but I hope it’s worth a massive warm glow to a lovely man “just north of Lewes.”

    Freegles ace. A proper community spirit in a world of doom and gloom.

    Thanks

    Tim , Lewes Freegle

  • Not so cold with Freegle

    Thank you so much for the cold frame it is absolutely great. In the end I collected in my Dad’s Pajaero just to make sure I could fit it in.

    It was really kind of you to leave it out and wrap the other panes of glass. We will be putting them back in over the week-end .

    Hopefully I will have really early sweet peas next year.

    Kind regards

    P.S. You are more than welcome to put this on the Freegle Website.

    Freegle is a wonderful idea, I’ll be putting some furniture on my local one
    over the weekend.

    Sue Bedford Freegle

  • Dear Freegle-towers,

    Just to say that there are few things in life which give a pretty straight-forward warm fuzzy feeling. Normally, it is chased to little avail when helping proves much more complicated and muddled than you may have originally anticipated.

    However, responding to a request for ‘nautical house stuff’ with an offer of drift wood and a little wooden boat pretty much does it. It is so pleasing to think that the wood, which was in the way on a garage shelf waiting for the day when I finally began some craft with it, has now found a happy home. Without the wood pile, taking our bikes in and out of the garage each day is now less awkward.

    Thinking of the cute little boat, which just didn’t fit anywhere in our flat, now having ‘pride of place’ in someone elses home is similarly pleasing.

    So thanks Freegle!

    Carly, Edinburgh Freegle

  • Singer sewing machine

    A little story…. last week I posted a ‘wanted’ notice on Penrith & Eden Freegle for a sewing machine, and got 2 offers the same day (one from a PACT member actually!). I collected from the lady who made the first offer, it turned out to be an old Singer sewing machine very similar to one I’ve used previously. So far I’ve completed a couple of small projects on it and it seems to work very well, so a great acquisition and another example of the benefit of being a freegler. It also allows me to ‘recycle’ old bits of material into something more useful.

    From my own time living in the developing world it’s also a reminder that many people overseas would be astonished that you can pick up an asset such as a sewing machine for nothing. In India it would be a route into employment, allowing someone to run their own small-scale tailoring business, whereas in reality it would be a major investment to buy, in fact even the purchase of cloth can be prohibitive for someone to get started.

    In the same way bikes such as those appearing on freegle from time to time can also be a major expense in the developing world, yet would also provide a way of reaching work opportunities a little further afield, or even using the bike itself to act as a local courier.

    Today I went to our local recycling site in Appleby and found just dumped there a kitchen bin and a washing up bowl, both in very useable condition so I’ve them brought away.

    In general it’d be great if we can all recognise the value & benefit of almost anything either to our immediate community or even to others further afield. Anyway great to see Freegle working well and continuing to expand in this area!

    Nigel , Penrith and Eden Freegle

  • Happy endings

    Hi.

    We had an enormous pile of jigsaw puzzles that my husband had done at least once. We were running out of space to store them and I finally persuaded him to part with many of them. I put them on Freegle thinking that we would get lots of people picking them over and taking the nicest.

    A gentleman arrived from a local Retirement Home and collected them all, thanking us and mentioning that it would give his residents hours and hours of fun – and probably frustration! Possibly they would be done many more times.

    Great.

    Sue, Hunts Freegle