Alexander Thomson


“It was a dream of mine to cycle around the world, so I headed off, spinning through Europe, Turkey and Russia, and ending up in Kazakhstan. During my winter stay in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s capital, I started to develop some strange medical symptoms. Following the advice of a doctor, I returned to the UK to resolve the issue. I remember saying to the friends who I left my bike with: “Right, guys, I’ll see you in a few weeks; this won’t take long.” That was three years ago! It’s been a complete medical mystery – perhaps fate for the project’s sake.

The inspiration for this project was born out of the observations and experiences from my time on the road. Villagers would invite me into their homes for meals, shelter, and sometimes a bed. Of course, communication was a little limited, but that only added honesty and simplicity to the moment – communicating by hand gestures and the odd understood word. When I walked into their houses, the first thing I noticed was the scarcity of the basics: A kitchen consisted of a few worn cupboards, a small sink, a well-used worktop, and a ‘60s-style fridge standing in the corner, with rust coming up the sides – all well used and cherished.
Much like bike touring, everything you carry has a purpose; you value it, you look after it, and you maintain it. When I returned to the UK, I was struck by the amount of materials that were thrown away, and from working on various construction projects, I soon realised that there was a real need to upcycle DIY waste. This was the impulse that started the project.
Since then, the building blocks have been falling into place, including receiving National Lottery funding (a big ‘thank you’ to all who play the lottery, as without them, this project wouldn’t have been possible). The website is up and running, and we’re now looking at the launch. In time, we hope that the project will help to reduce the amount of DIY reusables that are needlessly thrown away, while providing more property restoration and maintenance opportunities for all.”

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About the business

What is DIYgogo?

Ever walked past a skip and seen something inside that you could use? Well, that’s what DIYgogo does – puts users in touch with unwanted DIY reusables in the simplest and most convenient way, all for free. We are a Community Interest Company, which means we run for the benefit of the community and the environment. All money that we raise is reinvested into the project, with any surplus being donated to similar causes.


To see things reused, and in doing so help to reduce our environmental impact.
Provide opportunities and things to others who may not have them otherwise.
Help reduce the pressure on unsustainable disposal chains, such as incineration and landfill.

DIYgogo is a small voluntary organisation based in South East England, and we rely solely on donations to cover our overheads – things like website hosting and management, insurance and promoting the service. If you have enjoyed the service, and/or would like to encourage recycling, please donate. It’s simple and easy to do, and it’s the only we can continue our work.

It started when I was knocking off some tiles from a wall. Realising they were perfectly fit for reuse, the idea of a service dedicated to recycling DIY waste popped into my head, and so many coffees later, here it is!

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