Inclusive meeting place in Leuven about circular economy
MAAKbar is the place in Leuven where people come together to learn new skills that fit into a sustainable and circular lifestyle. It is a low-threshold meeting place where everybody can repair their broken stuff or lend materials in the tool library. There is also a plant shelter, a greetings card shelter and a nail library. We regularly organise repair cafés and offer a wide range of zero-waste workshops. In this way, we want to inspire everyone to reduce the amount of waste and contribute to a sustainable city.
MAAKbar wants to make circular economy an inclusive and participative story. We will actively motivate citizens to write our story together. Citizens are at the wheel and fill in the agenda themselves.
Due to the great success of our initial concept, we moved to a new address in Diestsestraat, where we wanted to start a new chapter. Unfortunately, this relaunch fell through in the middle of the corona crisis, which meant that several planned activities could not or only barely take place. The aspect of meeting and getting together, MAAKbar's strength, was forced to be scrapped to a large extent. This also had consequences for MAAKbar's income.
Nevertheless, we started a large sewing project of mouth masks from re-usable fabrics. We mobilised about 600 volunteers and worked closely together with different city services. The project did not bring us any financial profits, but it did lay a solid foundation for the future: more people got to know us, the cooperation with the city services was very positive, and we were repeatedly mentioned in the press.
We are actively working towards an inclusive sharing and recovery economy. In cooperation with Femma we planned sewing workshops for vulnerable women, and together with Qrios we organised the course 'repairer small electro' for newcomers and vulnerable target groups.
99.9% of our toolbox and the furnishings in our new building consist of recycled items and materials. In this way, circular economy is very visible in our operations and we make the theoretical, vague concept accessible to everyone.
Due to corona, a significant number of our activities were temporarily halted. That did not stop us from setting up a large sewing and distribution workshop for mouth masks. Around 600 volunteers put their shoulders to the wheel.
We responded to the spirit of the lockdown in which everyone went DIY and allowed our members to order things online from the tool shed, which was temporarily closed. The tools were picked up by appointment or delivered and picked up by carrier cycle.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
Just the strength of the MAAKbar, an inclusive place for meetings and get-togethers, was scrapped by corona. However, the organisation proved to be very agile and managed to maintain and even improve contact with its citizens and supporters, for example through the mouth mask project.
Besides sharing and recovering extensively on social media, we are as transparent as possible about our operation, so that hopefully MAAKbars will be established in other cities. We are also part of a learning network with other tool libraries with whom we meet regularly.
We attach great importance to our inclusive operation. At MAAKbar, circular economy is a cooperation between citizens and partner organisations in a true collaborative culture. Equivalence, transparency and appreciation for the effort of each talent are our core values.
1.000volunteers reached per year
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Because of Corona, most activities were temporarily halted during the working year. Because of this, we also missed a large part of our income. Therefore, the future of MAAKbar is uncertain at the moment. We did not find any further subsidies, so the staff was fired. We are now trying to find out how we can incorporate the different parts in other existing work.