Continued use of Walkerburn storage unit crucial to survival, claims charity

Home Basics' storage container at Tweedvale Mills East in Walkerburn.Home Basics' storage container at Tweedvale Mills East in Walkerburn.
Home Basics' storage container at Tweedvale Mills East in Walkerburn.
The survival of a charity supplying second-hand furniture to hard-up families in the Borders is dependent on continued use of a storage container in Walkerburn, it claims.

Home Basics, a social enterprise running shops selling furniture and other household items at shops at Teviot Crescent in Hawick and Tweedvale Mills East in Walkerburn, has applied to Scottish Borders Council planners for a five-year extension to its consent for use of a container at the latter site.

The charity says retention of the storage facility is essential if it is to resume operations after the current coronavirus lockdown is lifted as it would enable it to maximise the space it has available to ensure social distancing can be maintained in its shops.

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It is also needed to store electrical and electronic equipment for recycling, it says.

A spokesperson for the charity, founded in Walkerburn 21 years ago, said: “These are exceptional times, and the retention of this container has now become more important than ever to the survival of our charity, and our work would be seriously impaired without the storage space it provides.

“We appreciate that the container discussed in the planning application was deemed a temporary structure, but we are a not-for-profit social enterprise with limited funds.

“The extension of premises, or the purchase of additional premises, is not a financially viable option for us, especially as we have been closed since March 23 as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, resulting in a considerable loss of income and a reduction in our reserves.

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“To operate effectively after lockdown will require us to maximise the use of all available space to allow for social distancing of customers, staff and volunteers, as well as quarantining of donated goods. The container will provide essential storage during this time and for the foreseeable future.

“We have been working with Scottish Borders Council’s waste management team since 2014 on re-use of waste electrical and electronic equipment and household items from Selkirk, Hawick and Eshiels community recycling centres.

“We anticipate an influx of donations being offered to Home Basics on reopening, and given our focus to support the council’s waste management strategy and its bid to remain a landfill-free area, we do not want to knowingly increase waste by declining quality reusable items offered.

“There have been no complaints or issues with neighbours regarding the container being on the site over the previous three years.”

“The container has caused no problems with their staff parking or deliveries to their premises and does not, under any circumstances, interfere with their operations.”

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