Repurposing with Purpose

Turning opportunity into collaboration, our dedicated staff and students upcycled soon-to-be discarded pens from the Cats Protection League into vital resources for our animal care department whilst providing invaluable hands-on learning experiences for our students.  

In the heart of our D&A Community lies the spirit of collaboration and resourcefulness. This project captured that essence by working together to bring this incredible project to life.

The Cats Protection League in Arbroath had plans to refurbish their unit and informed D&A that they would be dismantling and disposing of their current set-up. Recognising the potential in this, Kirstie Sherriff, Animals, Land and Environment Technician, set about repurposing the materials into something valuable for our Animal Care department.

The size of the task was immense, and it required a cross-departmental approach to ensure its success. Recognising that the project would require a multitude of skills it was proposed that this would make a fantastic integrated project for students in our Construction Craft students.

After an initial conversation with Steve Rennie, Paul Denham took on this challenge with his students with innovation and dedication.  They worked together to dismantle the pens at the Cats Protection League, ready to be brought back to our Arbroath Campus. This task was labour-intensive and time-consuming, taking weeks of effort between classes and other commitments.

Getting the pens back to the Arbroath Campus was a feat taken on by Gary Smith and Stephanie Livingstone.  They transported the pens and sheds through numerous trips back and forth between the two sites, with support from Colin Gordon who expertly unloaded the sheds and materials on his forklift, making the whole process seamless and more efficient.

As the new term began, Paul and his students faced the daunting task of rebuilding the sheds and pens to create new homes for some of our furry friends in our Animal Care Department. Many parts were rotten and broken and required replacement parts or repairs to ensure that they were safe for our staff, students, and animals. With enthusiasm and determination, the students learned invaluable real-life skills through experiencing challenges they would come up against in their professional careers.

Alongside the students, our Estates Team played a crucial role in this project’s success. Pauline Anderson, Tom Culley, and Debbie Stuart supported the rebuilding of the sheds and putting on the roofs, without them this project would not have been possible. The financial savings achieved by upcycling these pens and sheds is substantial as buying new would have been very expensive.

In addition to the new pens and sheds we were also able to build a new aviary out of the upcycled materials from the Cats Protection League and a special mention goes to Graham Macfarlane and his students. Their craftsmanship and commitment have created a wonderful addition to our facilities.

We are immensely grateful to the Cats Protection League for their generosity, to Paul and his students for their extraordinary efforts, and to all the D&A staff who contributed time and effort. This project not only provided a practical learning experience but also demonstrated the power of teamwork and resourcefulness.