Kelso FatFace staff help Borders homeless charity after bumper sales

The team at Fatface in Kelso won a �2000 charity donation by achieving the best sales across the whole company over a specified weekend. They donated it to Fresh Start Borders.
The team at Fatface in Kelso won a �2000 charity donation by achieving the best sales across the whole company over a specified weekend. They donated it to Fresh Start Borders.

Retail workers in Kelso have made a four figure donation to a local charity after winning a national sales competition.

Staff at fashion store Fatface in The Square achieved the best performance versus sales budget over a designated weekend earlier this year, from more than 200 stores across the UK.

The prize was a £2,000 donation from the Fatface Foundation, to be given to a local charity which helps to get people off the streets – one of the foundation’s six priorities for the next three years.

Store manager Tracy Wilson identified Selkirk-based Fresh Start Borders – which helps people who have been homeless and are moving into their first permanent tenancy by donating starter packs of basic household essentials – as the perfect recipient.

“There was a company-wide competition with six prizes of donations to charities, and each prize was aimed at a different goal from our 2020 plan,” she explained.

“It was a UK-wide competition, so the fact that our wee shop in Kelso managed to get the top prize is brilliant.”

The store, which opened in Kelso three years ago, has been a success story in a time of well documented struggles on the high street.

“I’m really proud of the team. We work hard and we certainly pack a punch,” Tracy said. “We’re busy. People travel to come to the shop. We get a lot of support from local community and businesses which makes it even better to be able to give back to the community.

“When I found out we had won the competition I was so excited. For the first time since I came into Fatface in Kelso we have been able to give something back.”

Set up in 2009, the Fatface Foundation aims to support people in communities where the firm sources, manufactures, retails and distributes its products, and has raised over a million pounds since its inception.

“The foundation is doing some fantastic work,” Tracy said. “They are currently working towards six objectives, including reducing homelessness, as well as doing extra things to do with the environment and sustainability.

“The prize we won earned us £2,000 for a local charity that helps getting people off the streets, and we felt Fresh Start Borders was a prime candidate as they support people who have been homeless to set up in a permanent residence.

“I had heard of the charity and the work they do locally, and when it needed to be a charity which helped to get people off the streets I thought who better? It was a perfect fit.

“When I contacted them to tell them I had a cheque for them for £2,000 they were over the moon.”

Irene McFadzen, chairwoman of Fresh Start Borders, said: “We were delighted to get the phone call from the girls to say that they had won this money. They did extremely well.

“Our charity gets people set up when they get a tenancy after a period of homelessness. We’re based in Selkirk but we help people right across the Borders, with 60% of our referrals coming from the council.

“We get a lot of second hand items such as towels and bedding, but we raise money to help us supplement the packs with things we can’t get second hand, like frying pans and kettles. The money raised in that way is vital and really makes a difference for the people we are helping.”

Last year the charity gave out 239 packs, which supported 262 adults and 98 children.

“The first three months of this year was our busiest period since 2014, so it was really fortunate that this donation came in when it did,” Irene added.