Kelso charity shop hits half-million mark

Charity Begins at Home volunteers with chairperson Margaret Riddell, third from left, at the Kelso charity shop in Bridge Street.
Charity Begins at Home volunteers with chairperson Margaret Riddell, third from left, at the Kelso charity shop in Bridge Street.

A Kelso charity has handed out £60,000 worth of cheques to over 60 organisations in the TD5 area.

Sixty-four charities, groups and schools benefited from a cash injection after the Charity Begins at Home (CBAH) shop divvied up funds raised in the last year.

Opened in 2000, the shop on Bridge Street has now raised over half a million pounds for local causes.

This year’s recipients ranged from wheelchair curlers and the talking newspaper, to citizens advice, search and rescue and music groups.

The Kelso medical practise received a grant towards blood pressure monitoring equipment. Kelso churches all picked up cheques, as did the six primary schools feeding the high school, and the high school itself.

Anne-Marie Bready, retiring headteacher of Edenside Primary, said: “It is incredible how much money this charity raises. It’s wonderful that it is able to support our schools as well as so many wider groups of people in and around Kelso.”

A school kitchen at Edenside, donated by the parent council, has been equipped thanks to CBAH funding, which was also used to create a picnic and play area, and buy new books for the library.

“I term these enhancements our ‘golden things’, I couldn’t buy out of the school budget, and they are extremely important to our children’s education,” Ms Bready said. “We are indebted to CBAH.”

Julie Seymour, chairperson of the Kelso Bud Club, which supports people with learning disabilities, said the CBAH money meant that the group’s monthly club nights, activities and days away could continue.

“This money is absolutely essential to us and means we can plan trips knowing we can accommodate the vital carers and support staff often needed for our members,” she said.

CBAH Trust chairperson Margaret Riddell said that the charity had gone from strength to strength over the last 18 years.

“We were four women working for another charity who just thought we could do something that benefited our own community,” she explained. “We paid back the money given to take on the shop within a year, and now have gone past half a million pounds, which is incredible.

“So many people have told us that if it wasn’t for our support they wouldn’t be functioning, and while it’s hard work that makes it worthwhile. It’s a simple but very effective idea which ensures a good stream of funding direct to local people.”