Many Bicester residents may have noticed that their local re-use and up-cycling organization Bicester Green has disappeared from Station Approach only to re-appear some months later in the Bicester Town Council’s yard on Launton Road, formerly called Clayton’s Yard.

Although the move was extremely disruptive for the small enterprise it has been a wonderful opportunity for them to put their up-cycling talents to the test.

They now reside in three, second hand shipping containers that have been re-purposed specifically for their needs.

The first two containers arrived complete and empty, looking very ordinary, on April 21. The third on the June 19.

Everything you see in them now has been installed by the team, from the windows to the workbenches, from the curtains to the access ramps. And almost all of the resources for their conversions have been found second hand or have been repurposed or up-cycled to fit their needs.

The double glazed units were a particular triumph of re-use as they were salvaged from conservatories being sold on ebay for next to nothing, as the owners were generally looking add extensions to their properties. In some cases a whole conservatory could be found for as little as £5, and one was actually donated completely free, just to save it going to waste.

The units that were not used were then resold by Bicester Green on ebay and are currently sailing across the seas to Zimbabwe where the new owner plans to build himself a house. There seems to be a great market for items that we no longer need, being sent to various African countries where resources are much scarcer.

Old decking found in skips and bike ramps no longer needed for their intended purpose have been used for access ramps. As for the flooring, there is carpet from one of the Trustees houses and end of roll exhibition flooring donated from a local company has been laid.

As one can imagine this type of conversion is very labour intensive and the volunteer team at Bicester Green have put in an enormous effort into helping the core team to deliver this project with such a small budget and big ambitions.

Now that the interiors of the Woodwork, Bike workshop and Shop and Up-cycling Centre are fit for purpose and once again productive there is still one big up-cycling job to complete. The insulation and cladding.

Bicester Green have made call outs to the public and been generously supplied with more pallets than they could have dreamed they would need. It is now down to the volunteer team to dismantle these, as they will be used, along with salvaged insulation boards, to cover all three containers to keep them warm this winter.

Although they officially launched on the July 7 and have been selling bikes and receiving donations since then, Bicester Green will be opening their doors for a Public Open Day in less than two weeks time on Saturday, October 14.

So if you are interested in seeing how the containers look now and for lots of up-cycling ideas and volunteer opportunities, then please do come and visit on the day.