Charity’s furniture project to fold

Clydesdale New Beginnings is having to close its furniture project as donations no longer cover its costs.

“There has been quite a substantial downturn in financial donations and we cannot continue it any longer,” said New Beginnings convener Mary McLellan.

“We are absolutely gutted about it because it is a great project and we know that a number of people will not have help now to settle into new homes. It is just so sad.”

From this week the furniture base in Hamilton Street, Carluke, is a ‘depot’ to receive donations for New Beginnings’ annual Christmas appeal for toys and ingredients for a family festive dinner, but the building is then likely to close at the end of December.

Mary emphasised that it was not because of a lack of need for the project, which has been running for over three years . In its first year it helped 30 people make homes by supplying furniture; by last year that was 129 people, and this year was running about the same level. And while some people received just a couple of items of furniture, many were given enough to furnish a whole house.

But the charity’s expenses were high, with the cost of hiring vans to move furniture.

“The furniture project needs between £7,500 and £10,000 depending on how often we hire a van,” said Mary.

The decision has now been taken to close it – to sacrifice an arm to save the body – and to go back to the basics New Beginnings started with.

From Kilmory Lodge, in Carluke, it will continue to offer home ‘starter packs’ – small electrical items. pots and pans, and cutlery – and the baby goods side will also continue.

Mary said: “We are keeping a supply of things like prams, and cots, and we have a store of clothing which we will try to keep. We have done our best. It is a financial thing, and there are just so many pulls on people these days.”

In recent months she had warned that the emphasis on foodbanks meant that charities like New Beginnings were losing donations.

She added: “Everyone has a project looking for money and we understand that. We are going to be a casualty of the downturn in financial donations.”