Old bus given new life as one-of-a-kind creative workshop

IT once served passengers travelling across the city on their busy weekday commutes.

Saturday, 16th April 2016, 9:49 am
Updated Saturday, 16th April 2016, 10:19 am
Antonia Dickson from the Edinburgh Scrap Store, Emma Roy of Lothian Buses and Denise Havard from EDI get to work at the bus. Picture: Stewart Attwood

But now an old bus has been given a new lease of life – as a one-of-a-kind creative workshop on the banks of the Union Canal.

The vehicle – which has been carefully stripped out, repainted and fitted with external lighting – is set to provide an unusual home for the Edinburgh Scrap Store, which works to recycle and reuse 
discarded materials.

The scheme encourages residents to unleash their creative side and make new objects from unwanted plastic, metal and wood, or anything else they can lay their hands on.

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The EDI Group, an arms-length council development company, donated the orange-coated bus in a bid to create an “inspiring space” for the project while it temporarily occupies land at India Quay.

But getting the old vehicle up to scratch has been something of a city-wide collaboration, with Lothian Buses helping in the refurbishment and the council applying a welcome lick of paint.

Meanwhile, organisations such as Historic Environment Scotland have already been donating unwanted tiles, metals and textiles, which will be used during a programme of upcoming workshops.

The bus was used by the Museum of Inventions to visit schools and community groups during the Edinburgh International Science Festival last year, and will now undergo an internal redesign carried out by local volunteers.

Antonia Dickson, from the Scrap Store, said the old vehicle would boost the group’s activities by providing a much-needed creative space.

She said: “We are truly grateful to everyone who has helped to bring this project to life. The bus will create such a creative space to work in and fits within our values to promote 
environmental awareness.

“The bus will expand our services to deliver more workshops for members of the community and encourage others to find infinite ways to reuse old materials.”

Emma Roy, environmental 
officer at Lothian Buses, said the company was “always happy to lend a hand to community projects” across the Capital.

She said: “As one of the major transport partners in Edinburgh, we are always keen to improve our environmental awareness, so we felt that the Edinburgh Scrap Store was more than a worthy cause to support.”

The Scrap Store is supported by the EDI Group, Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative, Vegware Community Fund and the city council’s Waste Action Grant.

It is one of a number of temporary projects on the site of the former Fountainbridge brewery, which is eventually due to be regenerated by EDI into a £135 million mixed-use canalside development.

A Spring Fling introductory event will be held this Sunday to showcase the group’s work and provide information on how to join.

Denise Havard, community development manager at EDI, said: “It’s great to see another community project launch as part of our meanwhile-use initiative at India Quay.

“The enthusiasm, creativity and community spirit generated by these groups is fantastic and I look forward to the programme of workshops.”