Client Story

Seagulls Reuse

  • Location: Leeds
  • Sector: Arts, Creative and Digital Services Environmental and Recycling
  • Amount: £30k
  • Purpose: Working Capital
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Meet Kate & Cat
Kate moved to Leeds 20 years ago with the hope of going to university. A single mum, she ended up volunteering, where she met Cat, an art graduate. A world of colour literally opened up after they retired to Kate’s kitchen to start up an enterprise.

Key Fund enabled Seagulls Reuse to expand after securing a five-year contract with the council, with investments totalling £30k.


The Seagulls Reuse team collects 375 tonnes a year of waste paint from the council’s paint banks, removing the toxic waste destined for landfill. It’s taken back to base, separated into type, mixed and re-sold in their bespoke shop.

Seagulls offers volunteering and work placements for young adults with learning difficulties, ex-prisoners, and people with mental health problems.

Since forming in 2014, they’ve supported 552 volunteers, averaging 50 a year. Seagulls also runs a mosaic community art workshop.

The Challenge

They heard there was a need for paint collection so badgered the council who agreed they could collect from one site. With Kate on benefits and Cat doing part-time jobs in galleries, they didn’t draw a wage for four years while establishing. 

We’re really passionate about the planet, we’re really passionate about people. We see the difference it makes to our lives, and others; that drives us.

Kate – Seagulls Reuse

Seagulls conduct large scale mosaics in subways, in schools, and local hotspots such as Leeds market. Whilst employing artists to facilitate, each project is community based involving school groups, the elderly or mental health support groups. 

“We have a small workshop which is free for people with severe mental health problems – they’ll smash a tile up and create something very beautiful. We have a gentleman with paranoid schizophrenia who’s been very troubled in his life, but since he’s been coming here he’s producing the most amazing pieces of art; his mental health has improved dramatically.”

Seagulls support a network and social life, with camping and cinema trips, giving lost souls a place to belong. It is life changing for so many.

Ruksar came to Seagulls 12 years ago from prison and is one of their ‘most loyal and brilliant’ employees. While in an open prison, he signed up to a course at Leeds College and qualified in painting and decorating. He sent 50 or 60 letters applying for work, but doors remained firmly shut, but he started volunteering at Seagulls and now he’s a shop floor supervisor. He feels he’s now in a position to mentor others.

The Solution

Key Fund helped Seagulls Reuse expand their offering after securing a five-year contract with the council. Once up to spec, they plan to provide screen printing and furniture up-cycling.

The Feedback

“To have a fund that will specifically support organisations like ours is fantastic, it enables us to grow and provide more resources in the community. Key Fund really get it.”

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