Matt Campbell, Revive Leeds

A re-use shop on a Household Waste Recycling Site? Are you joking???? Matt Campbell, Director of Community Support Projects for the St Vincent de Paul Society, and board member of the FRN, reviews the performance of the Revive Leeds CIC Reuse Shop after its first 12 months of operation.


For about ten years Leeds City Council, and furniture re-use projects in Leeds studied the progress of projects across the country operating shops on household waste recycling sites. When Leeds City Council upgraded their Household Recycling Site in Seacroft in north east Leeds, they included a purpose built shop. Revive Leeds, a newly formed community interest company, was successful in competitively bidding to operate the new re-use shop, designed to catch and divert waste headed for the landfill.  


Revive Leeds CIC was formed on 3rd November 2010, as a partnership by three Leeds based third sector groups: St Vincent de Paul (SVP) which is an international Christian charity that operates a number of Community Support Projects such as Furniture Stores (14), Community Shops (40) and Support Centres (3);


Emmaus Leeds which is a charity helping the homeless and part of a national network; and South Leeds Alternative Trading Enterprise (SLATE) which is a social enterprise designed to support people with learning disabilities.  The mission of Revive is to become the number 1 household waste site shop in England, providing work and volunteering opportunities for people from socially excluded backgrounds.


All three organisations run re-use services in Leeds.  Between them they have 13 outlets across the city, selling furniture, household and electrical goods, clothing and bric-a-brac saving useful resources from landfill, selling on at affordable prices to local people in need, creating jobs and providing volunteering opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.  Between them they employ 48 people, engaged with 258 volunteers and work placements and diverted 327 tonnes from landfill in 2010.


The Seacroft Revive Re-use shop opened its doors in August 2011 and it has been increasingly busy since. After the first 12 months of operation, now seems a good time to review performance to date.


The shop is based in Inner City East Leeds, which is one of the city’s most deprived areas, with soaring unemployment and a great need for jobs and training for local people. Revive respond by providing this and more.  


When people know that there is a re-use shop operating locally, it is an incentive for them to dispose of unwanted items responsibly. The less stuff that finds its way to the waste tip the fewer lorry journeys, which results in a reductions of CO2 emissions.  


Revive volunteers and staff are helping to dispose of unwanted goods in an environmentally and socially friendly way. This is having a long term positive outcome for the people who live in the local community. In fact Revive increasingly see people who have travelled simply to use the shop, because they like the atmosphere and want to get a bargain. They want to help the environment and in doing so help themselves.


People who come to the site are not only getting rid of their “rubbish” they are also donating items that can be re-sold for the benefit of the community.  The old Yorkshire adage “one man’s muck is another man’s brass” comes to reality in Revive. 


The shop encourages waste site users to visit Revive by trying to generate a “feel good” atmosphere about spending locally.  


Many customers have become volunteers and are helping other local people with affordable household goods.  Our prices are significantly below those in high street charity shops this gives the added benefit of giving local people the first chance to purchase top quality goods at affordable prices.


Through the hard work of the staff, volunteers and Leeds City Council, Household Recycling Site staff since Revive Leeds opened the doors on the 24th August 2011, Revive has already:


  • diverted some 111,289.52kgs of waste from the landfill 
  • has worked with 417 individual local volunteers over 964 days,
  • provided support to 901 people in the Community Payback Team, providing useful, structured, community work, for offenders through a partnership which SVP have with West Yorkshire Probation Service, to supervise 44,000 hours of work by offenders on community payback each year.

In return the year-end financial surplus generated by Revive Leeds, is divided between the 3 organisations, to support their individual organisations, in order that they can continue to provide quality services to their own specific client groups.


In the first year since opening:-


  • 88,644kgs of large bulky furniture items
  • 5,325 Books
  • 2,262 CD/DVD’s
  • 1,491 Videos
  • 5,580 Items of clothing
  • 24,767 Items of bric a brac

have been saved from landfill and has been sold through the Revive shop!!!!


Not only is Leeds City Council the lease provider, it is also  working collaboratively with Revive staff to ensure that the maximum amount of quality goods are saved from landfill.  The Recycling Centre staff have a great working relationship with the staff and volunteers in the shop. When people miss the shop the site, staff put aside quality items into a container, on site, which is then emptied on a regular basis by the shop team.


Leeds City Council want to roll out more shops on Waste sites and Revive want to run these.

A partnership made with a view to providing a greener, more environmentally friendly, socially beneficial project which enriches the lives of the local community and generates jobs.


No, we are not joking. Come along and visit us. It is real. 



Author's Biography 


Matt Campbell is a Retail Director with 37 years of experience, managing a range of High Street companies, in a number of retail sectors including Electrical, Furniture and Fashion. Matt has strong experience in Property Management, Lease negotiation, HR, Marketing, Sales Operations and Logistics.


Matt was part of the team which launched Primark, in the UK, and built the foundations for the company it now is. For 11 years Matt managed a business with 187 High Street and Shopping Centre stores ranging from 2,000 sq feet to 40,000 sq feet. Turnover was in excess of £150 million with 2500 staff. When Matt joined they had 55 shops and a turnover of £35million.


Five years ago Matt joined St Vincent de Paul Society, as Director of Community Support Projects, (CSP) (14 Furniture Recycling Projects, 35 Community Shops, and 3 Support Centres), to help build the commercial side of the charity. The organisation's CSP's now account for 33% of the total income of the charity nationally. This has increased from 20% two years ago and is progressively increasing.


Matt has experience of working with Local Authority bodies, NOMs and other statutory agencies. His width of expertise in the reuse and recycling and the up-cycling sectors is growing.


Finally, Matt is a Board Member of Voluntary Action Leeds and the Furniture Recycling Network (FRN).





The personal views expressed by our "Thinkspot" contributors do not necessarily reflect those either of the organisations they represent, or of Urban Mines Ltd.



Agree or disagree with the points raised in the Thinkspot article, or do you think the author has missed the point? Want to add your ideas and keep the debate going? Feedback comments to the author and other users via the "Comments" facility below. To do this you need to be registered on our website - click here for more information on registration.


You must log-in or register to post a comment in this area.
Quick log-in