Borrowing and sharing at the Gardens
Find what you need, share what you can
We want to make it easier to share useful stuff in our community, helping all of us to look after both our wallets and the planet.
Discover the different ways that you can borrow and share resources, from plants and seeds to books and fancy dress costumes!
Benthyg: The Library of Things
A library of things is a collection of useful items that anyone can borrow. Do you find there’s some stuff you only use occasionally – like power tools, camping gear, a sewing machine or a travel cot for a baby? Benthyg Splott, based at Railway Gardens, makes it easy to borrow, not buy, so you can save money and help reduce waste.
Bentnyg means borrow in Welsh. As well as Benthyg Splott there is a growing network of libraries of things across Wales; Benthyg want to make borrowing as easy as popping out for a loaf of bread, and since launching they’ve managed to save 14,847kg of carbon emissions, just from lending out their two most popular items – amazing!
What can I borrow?
Benthyg have a HUGE and growing catalogue of items, from sewing machines and garden tools to a projector and children’s fancy dress costumes. One of our favourite items is the party pack – a set of twenty sturdy and colourful plastics plates, bowls and beakers for children’s partys.
How does it work?
Sign up for a free Benthyg membership here or come to site and sign up in person. Then browse the catalogue and reserve the items you want. You can choose when to borrow them and whether you want to collect them in site or arrange home delivery in Benthyg’s electric van.
There’s a small fee for borrowing items. This can be paid with money, time credits, volunteering time or skill sharing. There’s also a concession membership for anyone who is unemployed, receiving government support, on a low income or receiving the state pension.
When can I visit Benthyg?
Benthyg is open for browsing and borrow on:
Wednesdays, 10:30am. 1:30pm
Thursdays, 1pm – 4pm
Saturdays, 10:30am – 1pm
Can I donate things?
Yes! If you would like to donate something, please drop the item in to Benthyg during their opening hours.
You can donate anything useful and in good condition, e.g. garden tools, camping equipment, kitchen equipment, toys, games, etc.
The Community Seed Library and Crop Swap
The cost of good seed can be a barrier to growing for many people. Anyone who needs seeds for growing food or supporting wildlife can take what they need from the Community Seed Library, for free.
Equally, a lot of good seed gets wasted because it’s gone out of date. Anyone who has seeds to share – surplus shop-bought or home-saved – can add them to the library.
Best of all, locally saved seed and seed-saving skills help build resilience and food security.
In addition to the Seed Library we also have the Crop Swap where you can swap and share plants, pots and surplus produce from your garden.
What can I borrow?
The Seed Library contains a mix of vegetable and flower seeds to choose from. Some are home saved, some are shop bought. You can borrow a whole packet or empty seed packets are available if you just need to take a few seeds.
What you’ll find on the crop swap varies week to week! We usually have pots available and, depending on the season, there might be houseplants, spare seedlings, or fruit and veg from the garden.
How does it work?
The Seed Library is currently house in the middle bench of Y Nyth, the round wooden structure at the far end of the site. You can help yourself any time we’re open – if the canvas door of Y Nyth is down just unhook it and head inside!
In the metal Seed Library box you’ll find the seeds sorted by type. Choose what you need and note down what you’re taking in the sign out book. You’ll also find seed packets and a pen if if you only need a few seeds from a packet. Finally, there is also some printed seed saving guidance, please help yourself if you’d like to try and save seeds to return to the library.
The Crop Shop shelves are beside the colourful bird mural near the site gates. Help yourself to anything there!
Can I donate things?
Yes please! All donations of in-date and clearly labelled seeds (shop bought or home saved) are welcome. Please just add them to the correct section in the Seed Library.
On the Crop Swap, the shelves beside the bird mural, we welcome donations of:
– Seedlings and plants
– Plant pots
– Healthy house plants
– Produce from your garden – no shop bought food please.
Share It Saturdays! And other opportunities to share skills...
Share It Saturdays are our regular morning slots where someone from the community shares a skill with others. These could be skills for food growing, mending, making, or skills for wellbeing, such as crafting or tai chi. So farm we’ve had a wide range of wonderful skills shared, including using a drill, macrame, junk journalling, building planters, rag rugging, seed saving, and wildlife gardening.
Railway Gardens is also available for anyone to run their own skill sharing events. We have different spaces you can use and different costs for using them: if you’re planning something that’s for the benefit of the community and is free for all to attend then you can use Railway Gardens for free.
What skills can I learn?
Take a look at our programme to see which Share It Saturdays and other skills events are planned.
For most Share It Saturdays we ask people to book so we know how many people to expect. Some sessions have limited spaces so the person sharing can support everyone. We usually ask for a small donation to help us cover the costs of materials, but you can always contact us for a free place, no questions asked, if this would be a barrier to you coming.
If there’s a skill you’d like to learn please get in touch and let us know so we can try to build it into the programme in the future.
Can I share my skills?
Yes please! All skills are welcome, including…
- Food growing
- Wildlife gardening
- DIY and repair
- Cooking and food skills
- Sewing and mending
- Bike skills – maintenance and repair
- Upcycling and other crafts
- Community organising skills
- Sustainable living skills
How does it work?
If you’d like to lead a Share It Saturday then please contact Julia on firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know what skill you’re thinking of. We’ll then…
- Agree a date and times that works for you – Share it Saturdays normally last 1 – 2 hours but can be longer or shorter.
- Chat with you about what materials, resources, or support you might need from us to help you lead the session.
- Help you plan out the session if you’d find this helpful, and help write a risk assessment if one is needed.
- Promote your Share It Saturday and take bookings
- Be there on the day to help you set up and lend a hand during your session if you need it.
The Little Green Library
We have a growing number of useful books on gardening, mending, climate action and green skills – all available to borrow for free.
The Green Library is currently in our Green Room container but will move into the Hwb when it opens in early summer 2023. To borrow a book simply pop in to our Natter with Neighbours coffee morning each Wednesday, 10:30am – 12pm or to our Wellbeing Cafe on Thursday afternoons, 2 – 4pm and on the last Saturday of each month. Sign out the books you’re interested in, enjoy them, and return them when you’re done! We are always looking for donations of books for the library too.