A unique social enterprise in Ayrshire, that works to support families facing financial hardship, is one of the first to benefit from the profits of the new 5p carrier bag law.
Hillhouse, a Kilmarnock-based not-for-profit organisation with charitable aims, has been presented with a cheque for £500 from the town's Scotmid Co-operative store.
Following the introduction last month of new legislation, Scottish retailers are required to charge a minimum of 5p for each new single-use carrier bag. The proceeds from the sale of such bags belong to each individual business; however, the Scottish Government is encouraging retailers to donate them to good causes in Scotland.
Speaking of their nomination, Sarah Hall, who manages Hillhouse and its three charity shops, said she was delighted: "Hillhouse is truly unique. When people find themselves in hard times there is no other organisation that does what we do. In this respect it's crucial that we survive and grow as a social enterprise so that we can keep helping those that need us. The donation from Scotmid is extremely generous and will be of huge benefit to the people and families we support."
Store manager Angela Watters added: "Supporting communities and co-operative initiatives is one of our core founding principles and we are delighted to be supporting Hillhouse with this donation. The work they do in supporting local people, particularly young families, is of great value within Kilmarnock and the neighbouring towns."
Established over 40 years ago, Hillhouse supplies children's clothes, shoes, toys and nursery essentials (such as cribs, cots, prams, sterilisers, and safety gates) and baby packs, free of charge. They also offer anyone entering a new tenancy a variety of household 'starter packs'. These packs are provided free of charge to anyone who needs them on entering a new tenancy and includes items such as pots, cutlery, crockery, bedding, and cleaning supplies.
On the success of the single-use carrier bag Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: "Beforehand, we had excellent engagement with retailers accessing our training, information and communications resources, and since the introduction we’ve had positive feedback from both retailers and shoppers, indicating that people have embraced the reasons behind the charge and are reducing the number of single-use bags.
“It’s great to see a local organisation benefiting from the money raised by The Co-operative Group, which is a signatory to our Carrier Bag Commitment. Over 250 retailers have registered an interest in the Commitment, agreeing to give the net proceeds from the charge to good causes, and I hope to see many more follow suit.”
Financial donations are essential to Hillhouse but donations of clothing and equipment are equally important. To find out how you can help, and to learn more about the valuable work they do in Ayrshire, visit www.hillhousehelps.co.uk
If you are facing financial hardship and need practical help then contact Hillhouse online or call in and see them at 11 Hill Street, KA3 1HA.