Mar 202014

Aberdeen forwardthm174With thanks to Ed Walker.

Want to Save Money and Reduce Your Food Waste?

Come along to our Free Cooking Demonstration and learn some creative ways to use leftovers from the Foodie Quine

St Bridget’s Hall, Stonehaven Dunnottar Church

Saturday 22nd March, 10.30am – 1.30pm

Please contact Karen or Gillian on 01224 560360 email to book a place

Nov 052013

Aberdeen-forward2With thanks to Ed Walker.

Aberdeen Forward is the first re-use organisation in Aberdeen to achieve accreditation for the new Revolve re-use quality standard offered by Zero Waste Scotland.

The community based environmental organisation has been working towards Revolve accreditation, Scotland’s national re-use quality standard, to gain national recognition for their customer focused organisation.

Aberdeen Forward works to minimise landfill around Aberdeen through a number of pro-active initiatives.

Their Creative Waste Exchange helps organisations-such as oil and gas companies, schools and other businesses-divert their office furniture, commercial equipment and other landfill in order to be more environmentally sustainable.

However, the cycle does not just end there and the items are sold on to various small businesses, third sector organisations and individuals, raising vital funds for the charities other operations.

Aside from this project, Aberdeen Forward run various initiatives including a baby shop, which helps support parents with low cost baby goods, and a ‘Roots and Shoots’ project which helps get ex-offenders back into work through community garden projects around the city.

In addition to this, the charities headquarters serve as a centre for individuals and volunteers to gain experience and get back into the community through various environmentally sustainable activities.

In the 3 months of August, September & October, Aberdeen Forward had an average customer satisfaction rating of 94%; when you take into account the average UK retail organisation AIMS to have an average customer satisfaction rating of between 65% and 80%, this is a really great result for the Aberdeen based charity.

Lynn Smith, Chief Executive at Aberdeen Forward, expanded on this result and had the following to say about the award itself:

“We are delighted that Aberdeen Forward has been awarded Revolve accreditation. Since we started working towards gaining the title we have seen a boost in trade as our customer experience is now at a level which rivals high street shopping […] We believe there is a strong market in providing people with a sustainable alternative to new goods, and look forward to building customer confidence in the sector and passing on good practice to other organisations in the re-use sector.”

The programme is backed by around £650,000 of investment in the re-use sector in 2012-13 designed to drive various improvements including the provision of a national re-use phone line (0800 0665 820) to make it easier for people to donate goods to re-use and find their local re-use outlet.

Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland said:

“The overall aim of Revolve is to lead and develop a change in Scotland’s re-use organisations, giving them the advice, training and support to develop a business model which provides customers with an experience that is comparable to commercial shops on the high street […] We essentially want to increase the appeal of re-use, develop a sector of customer focused organisations selling high quality products, and increase shoppers’ confidence in buying previously-owned goods.”

Aberdeen Forward is an environmental charity, established in 1999 to distribute landfill community funds.  It now also funds and supports a number of waste minimisation, sustainability and social projects across the North East.  Scottish Charity No: 034866.

Sep 052013

AbForwardGiveawayAberdeen Forward, your local environmental charity, are once again holding the Very Big Giveaway Day on this Saturday, September the 7th!

As usual, individuals & schools can access FREE office furniture, stationery and arts and craft resources.

There will also be a book stand and various drop in craft stalls running throughout the day, including a handmade cosmetics stand, ‘Beadpop’ stand, an oil & glass stand and ‘Stencil’ handmade crafts!

There will also be a raffle (tickets £1 available now) with a range of excellent prizes from local businesses including a Meal for 4 at Nando’s, various Lush cosmetics gift sets, a round of golf at Murcar Links Golf Club, Coffee for 2 at Books and Beans, A glass fusing workshop with Oil & Glass Aberdeen and a FREE lampshade making course!

In addition, The Nappy Laundry will be running a pop-up nappy shop where you can get expert advice and access to a great range of real cloth nappies. Further to this, the Aberdeen Forward Baby Shop will be open, providing access to an excellent range of low-cost, high quality baby items from prams and nursery furniture to pushchairs and cots.

Entry to the Big Giveaway Day is £3.00 for adults, children under 16 are free. Any questions, queries or requests, get in touch with us by clicking here or calling 01224 560360.

Oct 082012

Environmental charity Aberdeen Forward opened  its doors to the new Aberdeen Forward baby shop on Friday, 5th October with an official opening and coffee morning. With thanks to Gillian Marr.

A new venture for Aberdeen Forward the shop will provide good quality preloved baby goods for sale to those who need it most.

The project will compliment Aberdeen Forward’s successful Real Nappy Campaign that helps promote cloth nappies and sell preloved nappies and accessories at rock bottom prices.

Speaking about the project, Lynn Smith, CEO, said

“Expecting a new arrival in a family can be an expensive business, especially in the current economic climate.  We hope our baby store will serve not only as a resource for low income families but as a low cost alternative to buying new for all new parents.

“We’ve integrated the baby equipment into our main shop floor and are looking to provide a specialist service as time goes on.  At the moment we’re building business and are happy to accept good quality items for resale.”

The sale of the goods will support the shop and ensure that these quality items benefit the wider community while avoiding waste.

Aberdeen Forward is currently looking for donations of the following items:

  • Prams and pushchairs
  • High chairs
  • Cots (no mattresses)
  • Travel cots
  • Stair gates
  • Fire guards
  • Changing tables
  • Baby clothing
  • Bedding

We are currently not accepting the following items:

  • Toys
  • Changing mats
  • Bottles
  • Breast pumps
  • Mattresses
  • Electrical items – sterilisers/baby monitors etc.
  • Car seats

For further information or to arrange to drop off donated items please contact Tel (01224) 560360 or email

Oct 282011

Seasonal Garden Waste Collections – 2012. Don’t let your garden waste be wasted. Aberdeen Forward invites you to join next year’s Garden Waste collection scheme.

City based environmental charity Aberdeen Forward will once again be running a Green Bag collection scheme in 2012.

The scheme will run from April until November and involves fortnightly collection of garden waste from the kerbside in select areas of Aberdeenshire.

This year’s scheme which started in April 2011 has been a rousing success with a fantastic uptake and excellent feedback from community members.

Aberdeen Forward would like to express a thank you to all participants and extends an invitation to sign up for next year’s scheme, as well as welcoming new members to join.

The areas eligible for the garden waste collection service are:

  • Aboyne
  • Kincardine O’Neil
  • Inchmarlo
  • Banchory
  • Drumoak

Reusable garden waste bags will be provided.

The garden waste will be taken to Aberdeen Forward’s composting site and turned into compost for use on a community garden project adjacent to the site.

The service costs a one-time charge of £30 for the year. Anyone interested in joining the scheme can get in touch with Aberdeen Forward via telephone (01224 560360) or
email ( or visit the Aberdeen Forward website for more information at:

Image credit:  © Murat Akkan |

Oct 212011

Voice’s Suzanne Kelly was present to witness Wayne Hemingway give a talk to a full house at Robert Gordon’s Business School on the evening of 5th October. The audience was a wide mix of students, lecturers, design practitioners, businesspeople and others (Hemingway kept asking the audience questions to determine who was there, and he tailored his presentation accordingly).

Mr Hemingway gave an illuminating, bespoke talk.  My only criticisms were that the lighting engineer had no clue what type of lighting was appropriate for a slide/video presentation talk where people wanted to take notes (the lights went on and off, up and down for most of the second half), and that those who plan to forever change Union Terrace Gardens weren’t in evidence.
They might have learnt something.

If you think the Hemingway family (Wayne and Gerardine) are associated solely with fashion and the iconic ‘Red or Dead’ brand, you are missing some very important developments – housing developments to be precise.

Wayne saw a very clear need (which alas many planners and construction firms miss) to create places where people would actually want to live, socialise, landscape, play and be proud of. But more on that later.

Hemingway began the talk with his own life and design history.

In his early family years in Blackburn, his family was not wealthy; they valued creativity and imagination. He was on the music and clubbing scene from age 13 or so, and was enthralled by all he saw and heard in these early heady days of punk. He met his future wife and business partner Gerardine in a club, and was impressed with her clear passion and talent for clothes and customising vintage wear.

They got engaged, headed to London, and did typical day jobs (she as a secretary; he in a pub). One month things looked tight for paying the rent, so they decided on the entrepreneurial path and took a stall in Camden Market to sell their own second-hand, vintage clothing. This first outing proved so successful (and I assume enjoyable) that they put their efforts towards buying second hand clothing to sell. They delved into the world of  ‘the rag trade’ literally – buying goods otherwise destined for recycling from the ‘shoddy’ yards.

Few were touching vintage or second hand at the time, and the popularity of their stall grew and grew.

They soon learnt marketing tips such as the importance of where the stall was located in Camden. The now iconic Doc Marten boot was adored by the punk world, but elsewhere just seen as workers’ footwear. A clever deal with Doc Marten saw the duo buying old, damaged DMs in quantity (where the soles were worn through), repairing them (with a family member’s repair solution and friends to help), and selling them on for a considerable profit. The business grew and grew.

Gerardine created a small line of clothing – there were only eight pieces in the whole line – and headed to the very cool Kensington Market to join other designers and artists selling work.  Of all things Macy’s of New York found her there, and placed an order for 200 of each item. With some help from  several friends and relatives who could sew  they were able to fill the order. Out of this growth and interest, ‘Red or Dead’ came to life.

 Wayne had bought a large number of non-working sample watches; these were used to decorate shoes.

An older man in the trade asked Wayne ‘What does Red or Dead stand for?’ In the ensuing conversation this man explained how different brands were clearly aligned to aspirations and values: Weetabix, Nike, etc. – all major brands had a ‘raison d’etre’. Wayne and Gerardine made a list of things they stood for themselves – they were politically active, they came from areas without expensive, fashionable designer wear, they valued creativity and bought affordable items themselves.

It was clear they wanted Red or Dead to be affordable designer clothes. In deciding this they reached out to a sector of the public which had long been ignored. (They also realised that Macy’s did not fit with this direction).

The Red or Dead lines were to be sold through Top Shop (1983) and Miss Selfridge. Topshop at that point used to have no designers – only buyers and “copiers”.  These days it uses established and graduate designers, and the flagship London store also has a vintage section, perhaps a nod to ‘Red or Dead’.

At this time the pair had started paying attention to London Fashion Week, which was still at the time primarily an affair for the affluent. But the ‘powers that be’ at London Fashion Week had noted Red or Dead’s ascent with disdain.

The Hemingway’s dealings with Topshop and Miss Selfridge actually prevented them  from showing at London Fashion week for there years. The Hemingways had ‘demeaned’ fashion, and fashion ‘is about Harrods and Harvey Nicols.’  Or at least this was true to a Fashion Week mandarin.

This rebuff did not hurt Red or Dead sales in the least.

One year when the French were conducting nuclear tests and protestors were demonstrating against the tests around the world, London Fashion Week saw some drama courtesy of Red or Dead. “Non a Nuclear” banners provided the backdrop to the Read or Dead collection and French buyers were banned from the RoD show (which accounted for about a quarter of the buying audience normally – this exclusion was a considerable financial gamble).

Wayne explained he and Gerardine were willing to lose this custom in favour of making a political statement and appealing to and showing solidarity with the environmentalists – a growing movement in terms of visibility and economic power. What was going to be the public, media and market reaction to this show? The Hemingways went home.

Watching the national news some hours later, an item opened with a protest outside the French Embassy at Trafalgar Square.

Then the news item cut directly to the Red or Dead Fashion show.

All the media had picked up the story – and the phone started ringing. Wayne and Gerardine were being summoned that same night to talk to the press – the story of their show had veritably gone global.

Sales increased some 400% around the Red or Dead shops (which by now were in many countries). Corporate takeover advances soon came, and the Hemingways decided to sell. It was time for another adventure.

Wayne had interspersed this biographical talk with some sage business advice – the willingness to take risks, the way in which he delved deeply into the workings of the fashion industry from the lowly shoddy yards to the high end and London Fashion Week; all of which contributed learning experiences leading to success. (And by the way, apparently he is a very early riser, proving there must be some truth in the old ‘early to bed, early to rise…’ adage).

Wayne tells the audience:

“You learn absolutely every day; you need an ability to graft; there is never a day I get up after 5am.

“Creative minds don’t switch off… it’s how you get those ideas realised – graft and recognising which ideas can work… you need friends and good minds behind you.”

He also said without any false, unnecessary modesty how good he and Gerardine were at putting excellent teams together.

Turning from fashion to architecture and housing was the new direction. Boris Johnson had asked Wayne to be a ‘London Leader’, which involved working with the Mayor on a voluntary basis on projects and ideas to make London better.   At this point the talk turns from fashion history to the future of our cities.

“We’ve allowed our High Streets to become ‘clone’ High Streets.”  Hemingway says, and no one can argue with that.

He discusses his contribution to Boris Johnson’s project, which was ‘KiosKiosk’ – moveable, affordable (need I say it – well-designed) designer boutiques on wheels, seen at various London icons such as the Wheel.  These offer young designers a chance to meet the world head on – and since a stall at Camden Market is now extremely expensive, this offers others the kind of break the Hemingways had at the start.

Hemingway also applauds the model of ‘pop-up’ shops and restaurants, which have taken London by storm, and which have reached Aberdeen (for instance Emma Noble’s and Toni Roddie’s S.T.A.G Studio events at Korova – 19 November).

Hemingway references an article he wrote, “Why I Hate The Creeping Suburbs” in which he describes the Wimpeyfication and ‘Barratification’ of Britain.

The issues surrounding ‘urban sprawl’ are now recognised by the United Nations (as well as by most serious, thoughtful local planners); our ecology and biodiversity are not all that is at stake – our very health is jeopardised by the cities and suburbs over spilling into the countryside (increasing asthma and heart problems come with increased pollution; obesity from lack of exercise as we all commute to and from the cities to work, alcoholism increases, and so do social problems).

As a designer who has identified a problem does, Wayne decided to ‘look inside’ the issue, ‘see what he already knew’ about housing, and propose solutions.

He showed poignant photos at this point – a fairly new housing development which clearly looked more like a prison or factory; a beautiful Victorian pub turned into a block of (very unattractive, compact) flats, and a Liverpool street which once offered small, good first homes, now earmarked for high-rise flats.

He cautioned that mortgage companies (which could have provided mortgages for people to fix and modernise the existing homes on that Liverpool street) are dictating the state of our housing by what they will lend money for.  They seem to favour mortgages for new properties and turn down those who want to refurbish and improve properties.

The old Victorian homes may leak carbon, but they have been around for one hundred years, and thus have less of a carbon footprint than the alternative of tearing them down to make flats.

Wayne has designed housing estates which have very few, if any, equals in the UK.

There are leisure spaces for families (sand, trees, tables, different levels, etc. – some of the best design work he ever did, he tells us), and community gardens.  No one vandalises these (or the outdoor communal Ping-Pong table) because everyone’s families had a hand in creating and designing them in the first place.  The design for these estates started with people first and what they wanted and liked – the actual housing came second to the people.

Wayne ends with some great footage of his and Gerardine’s ‘Museum of Lost Content’ (a home for vintage design which might otherwise be forgotten) and the Vintage event – a massive ‘happening’ (for lack of a better word) held last year at London’s Southbank.

This festival combines decades of design and fashion, iconic music, bands, events and everything that celebrates Britain you can imagine in one place.   It was attended by thousands.  As words fail me, I suggest you visit and let the design do the talking.

Wayne also discussed photos he has of an Aberdeen estate; there are signs prohibiting virtually every kind of activity a child (or adult) might want to indulge in, including the dreaded ‘ball-playing.’

Question time arrives, and I am dying to ask for a comment on the future of our Union Terrace Gardens then and there.  However I decide that once the designs are unveiled, I will contact Hemingway.  I have no doubt he will have something useful to say after tonight’s talk.  It was a valuable and thought-provoking evening, and I was glad for this glimpse into ‘Wayne’s World.’

May 122011

With Thanks To Aberdeen Forward.

As Spring arrives, Zero Waste Scotland share their top five tips to a blooming wonderful garden and a flourishing compost bin.

Gillian Marr at environmental charity, Aberdeen Forward says:

“The start of the growing season is a great time to get out in the garden and also give your compost bin some attention. It’s time to clear out your winter garden debris and fill your garden with bright flowers.
“Composting is a great way to turn all those garden clippings and trimmings into a useful soil conditioner for your garden.  If you don’t already compost at home, spring is a great time of year to start.”

Zero Waste Scotland’s top five tips to a blooming wonderful garden this Spring:

  1. Rake your lawn to get rid of old growth, twigs and stray leaves and put it in your compost bin.  This lets the light and air into the soil level encouraging grass to grow.  Your grass will be looking lush in time for your first summer BBQ!
  2. Cut back last season’s plants and add the trimmings to your compost bin.
  3. Give your soil a boost by adding nutrient rich homemade compost in preparation for Spring planting.
  4. Moisturise with mulch! When planting new shrubs and fruit trees, mulch heavily around the base with compost. The mulch will prevent moisture loss which means you’ll do less watering.
  5. After your Spring clean, add the vacuumed dirt and dust to your compost bin.

For information and advice on home composting and seasonal tips for composting in Spring, visit:

Zero Waste Scotland is the new unified body created to support delivery of the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste policy goals. It integrates the work of WRAP Scotland, Waste Aware Scotland, Envirowise, NISP and the Community Recycling Network for Scotland.

More information on Zero Waste Scotland’s programmes is available from:

Aberdeen Forward Climate Challenge

 Aberdeen City, Articles, Community, Environment, Information  Comments Off on Aberdeen Forward Climate Challenge
Mar 182011

With thanks to Corrie Cheyne.

As part of Climate Week, local environmental charity Aberdeen Forward is running its own one-hour Climate Challenge.

On Wednesday 23rd March, between 1.00pm and 3.00pm, people will get together to try and solve a mystery climate problem, which will be posted online.

It could be to design an innovative recycling programme or a brand new low-carbon product.
It might be to creatively find new uses for old objects, or harness natural resources like wind and sunlight.
On the day, the question will be revealed, and after some discussion, an answer will be submitted to a national ‘ideas bank’.

Corrie Cheyne of Aberdeen Forward said:

“Your ideas count – no matter how daft, far-fetched or outlandish, we want to hear them! Join us to solve the climate challenge, and also to take a look back at our Transition Project to see what’s been achieved. We’ll provide snacks and drinks; you take along your imagination and creativity!”

Contact: Corrie Cheyne at Aberdeen Forward for more details: 01224 560360, or email

You can find out more about the Challenge at


Oct 292010

Aberdeen Forward… Aberdeen Forward… Aberdeen Forward… Aberdeen Forward…

Environmental Charity – Aberdeen Forward – has an opportunity for people who live in flats in Torry to get involved in an interesting new initiative. A significant number of people who live in flats are under the impression that they are inherently excluded from composting, however Aberdeen Forward are offering the chance to own a caddy and compost bin, free of charge, that can compost food and garden waste.

Zero Waste Officer Chris Hunt said, “When you put your food waste into your domestic bin it ends up in landfill where it generates methane, a green house gas.  The average family throws away £430 of food each year and it has been shown that when you start composting you become more aware of what you are wasting.  Once you become aware you are more likely to waste less – thus saving money.”

If you are interested and want to find out more about the project, Aberdeen Forward will be at the Tullos Community Centre from 11am to 3pm on Tuesday 26th and Thursday 28th October.  For more information phone 01224 560360

Footnotes –

* Composting is nature’s process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost. Anything that was once living will decompose. Basically, backyard composting is an acceleration of the same process nature uses. By composting your organic waste you are returning nutrients back into the soil in order for the cycle of life to continue. Finished compost looks like soil–dark brown, crumbly and smells like a forest floor.

*Aberdeen Forward is an environmental charity based at 2 Poynernook Road, Aberdeen. AB11 5RW.

*Figure of £430 of food thrown away comes from the national Love Food Hate Waste campaign.

Aug 062010

Aberdeen Forward…Aberdeen Forward…Aberdeen Forward…Aberdeen Forward

The people of the Huntly area might want to visit Huntly Farmers’ Market on Saturday 7th August to speak to the Zero Waste Volunteers on the Aberdeen Forward stall where there will be advice offered on where to purchase discounted compost bins and what to put in them. They can advise on how to get the green/brown mix right, so that you don’t end up with a smelly, slimy mess. Continue reading »