Thursday 25 July 2024
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Paid for contentShetland Home Co going from strength to strength

Charity clarifies what donations they can and cannot take

Lisa Johnson and Martyn Bruce in the donations area where all donations are sorted before going into the shop. All photos: Dave Donaldson

THE HUGELY popular Shetland Home Co reuse and recycle shop at the north end of Lerwick – previously known as Shetland Scrapstore – is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success and is asking customers for a little help.

To avoid being overwhelmed by donations, the team recently paused donations for a week and were very grateful for the community support during this time.

CEO at social enterprise COPE Steven Coutts said the company’s Home Co operation was receiving and processing more donations than ever before.

This has been greatly helped by a two year funding package from the Bank of Scotland Foundation which has enabled an additional van to be leased and increased staffing to work through donations and present them for sale.

This has been crucial during cost-of-living squeeze, with many more affordable household goods now available for sale into the community.

COPE is planning to build a large extension to its Home Co premises at the Port Business Park which, once open this time next year, will greatly enhance the organisation’s ability to cope with the ever-growing stream of donations.

Cope boss Steven Coutts with all the broken or not working electrical equipment that has to be sent to the council’s waste management site.

The charity provides employment and skills development for adults with learning disabilities or autism in the store and also on their vans which offer a collection and delivery service.

“Once the extension is up it will certainly help us a lot, but in the short term we want to strike the balance between getting donations in and also ensure we can check and process them without being overwhelmed.” Coutts said.

“We don’t want to turn people away, but we want to clarify what we can and cannot take.”

For example, he added that the organisation was unfortunately no longer in a position to repair electrical goods. They will still do full function test on electrical items, and PAT testing before an item is put on the shop floor for sale.

“Back in the earlier days we had more time to repair broken electrical goods when in reality we don’t now,” Coutts said.

“We will be able to do smaller repairs but the days of spending a long time to be fixing HiFi systems are gone.”

Anything that is broken or not in working condition needs to go to the Waste Management Site at Gremista and is ultimately recycled.

Shetland Home Co accepts the following donations (please remember to ensure they are clean):

  • Furniture
  • White goods and electrical items (working)
  • Laptop, computer consoles, and IT hardware.
  • Toys, Books, Games, DVDs, CDs and vinyl records
  • Essential household items, Crockery and Glassware
  • Mirrors, pictures and collectibles
  • Bric-a-brac

They are unable to accept:

  • Clothes and textiles (but there is a Salvation Army clothing bank outside the premises)
  • Furniture without fire retardant labelling
  • Weapons (and yes these have been donated!).
Nicky Donaldson, Support Worker, and Clive Munro, Team Leader, on the floor of the main shop at COPE.

If anyone is any doubt about whether their item is okay to donate please contact the team.When you donate, also please sign up to support COPE Ltd through Gift Aid. If you are a UK taxpayer, Gift Aid makes your donation 25% more valuable to COPE.

Earlier this year COPE received confirmation of a £695,000 government grant that will be used to extend the building by two thirds, covering the sorting yard on the left side of the entrance currently occupied by a number of shipping containers, where a lot of the sorting of materials take place.

Ibrahim Seif and Shaun Williamson in the electrical area where all the PAT testing of donated items is conducted.

Coutts said the new building will bring everything under one roof and will make operations “wind and watertight”.

Once completed, a new layout will make operations more streamlined including a retail area that will be 50 per larger than the current shop floor.

“By next winter we should not be challenged by the weather any longer,” Coutts said.

Shetland Home Co is one of the three businesses the social enterprise operates. The others are Shetland Soap Company and Shetland Garden Co.

At the Home Co COPE currently offers 36 half day sessions each week which are shared between nine individuals. The company also has three paid supported employees, and employs an additional 11 support staff.

Home Co is open six days a week, Monday to Saturday from 9am to 4pm. They can be contacted on 01595 696889 or via e-mail


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