Posted: Wed 25th May 2022

Saltney based re-use expert Paul plans to turn scrap into refugee shelters and play dens

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

A re-use and repurposing expert is developing a new line in easy to assemble structures which can be used for everything from disaster relief shelters to children’s play dens.

Paul Ridley is familiar sight at car boot sales across North East Wales and Cheshire where he sells screws, bolts, fixtures and fittings for DIY at knock down prices.

His social enterprise operation Cabinz Cic uses four giant units at Lock Stock Self-Storage on River Lane, Saltney.

Paul’s plan is for a low-cost kit that would provide the hardware to turn unwanted plastic and wooden panels into cheap and easily assembled panels to divide rooms to save energy or build foldable shelters based on a six-sided design called a hexa-yurt.

He said: “These hexa-yurts are ideal for swift assembly and made with the right materials they will be cheap, tough, durable and weather-proof, ideal disaster-relief shelters, animal pens, or room dividers – or even children’s play dens.

“I have designed the shelter using unwanted metal-sided foam sandwich panels with metal hinges so it can easily and quickly be put up and taken down and folded up and stored away when unused and this would allow these materials to be reused and not become waste.”

Paul’s design is still at the prototype stage but he has already used the panels to make animal shelters including organic chicken coops and works with allotment groups on building greenhouses.

In the meantime he is continuing to squirrel away vast quantities of manufacturers’ unwanted materials to give them a new lease of life.

His units at Lock Stock Chester in Saltney are Aladdin’s caves of fixtures, fittings, nuts, bolts, screws, hinges and nails of all sorts of shapes and sizes and the 40-foot long, 2,500 cubic foot containers are ideal for his storage needs.

Cabinz Cic grew from a voluntary group, The Cabinz Project, started by Paul in 2014 and since then it has supplied community groups and small businesses from a stock of several million items of hardware and fixings and he’s always looking for new customers.

He has designed greenhouses and disaster shelters, and donated to art material reuse charity Scrapstores in Runcorn, men’s shed groups and wood recycling charities.

Hexayurts were originally designed by Vinay Gupta to help disaster victims and Vinay has backed Paul’s recent designs inspired by the inventor.

Paul said: “When the makers of screws have boxes that have been split, they just put all the screws, of every size, into a big box and sell them at knockdown prices – I buy them, get them sorted into empty ice-cream tubs and then re-sell them at low cost or give to charities and low-income groups.

“They’re a good buy now that the price of steel has doubled because of international demand.

“I just bought 800 caster wheels from someone who buys at auctions – someone will need them or find a use for them, all I need is to store them until they do and these units are on a flexible, short-term lease and you can access them 24/7.

“I have just bought clearance stock of fibreglass sheets which retail at £17 to £30 a metre and will sell them on for £5 a metre – and I can store them safely until they’re wanted.”

His Dig It All project supports food banks by encouraging their customers to grow their own food by offering a ton of free fixings and sheet materials to the Independent Food Aid Network to build greenhouses and cloches and he also provides plastic buckets for home growing.

Lock Stock’s Lisa James said: “Increasingly we are seeing businesses, especially small businesses and social enterprises like Paul’s, using our sites because they have storage needs and with three different sizes of units they’re ideal whether people are looking to grow or to downsize.

“They can make use of a storage unit, calling there to stock up in the morning before going out to jobs or to car boot sales like Paul, and that is one reason we plan our sites very carefully so that our customers can easily access their units 24/7.

“We respond to demand and where it is coming from and if it is from somewhere where we need more capacity then we look at opening new sites or extending our existing premises and happily that has been possible here in Saltney where we now have two sites.”

Lock Stock, founded in Denbigh in 1999, is the UK’s largest containerised storage company with over 3,500 units providing over four million cubic feet of space at 22 parks including Flint, Saltney and Sandycroft.

[Main picture by Mandy Jones Photography]



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