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Midlothian Advice & Resource Centre: Environmental Trading

MARC, as an organisation working in the field of an anti-poverty strategy, set up the Midlothian Furniture Recycling Project in 1999 offering free furniture to those who are in poverty. The Community Fund funded this project until July 2002. During this time, the workers identified a gap in the provision of small electrical and white goods and also child safety equipment, which were constantly being requested. We were successful in obtaining a grant from the Building Brighter Futures Fund to undertake a feasibility study into this area of work. The outcome was very positive and confirmed the need for an increased choice of products being offered by the project.

The recycling project proved to be a success, however without grant aid, it was becoming clear that to continue this worthwhile project, we had to move towards self-sustainability. One of the options we decided to pursue was the sale of excess donated furniture. We immediately began to develop the idea to become a viable community business and we came up with a new project, MARC:ET (Midlothian Advice & Resource Centre: Environmental Trading).

We began immediately to pilot sales and applied to the Unemployed Voluntary Action Fund and were successful in obtaining a three-year grant to operate a volunteer run shop as from 1st April 2003. The shop opened its doors on the 23rd May 2003 and has proved to be a success. So much so that we are now operating at our full capacity.

We have undertaken a number of feasibility studies, which have identified a range of viable ideas, which we hope to undertake in the near future. These ideas are generally natural extensions of the Furniture Recycling Project. On the 18th August 2003 our Enterprise Development Officer was employed to identify new income generating initiatives and facilitate the transition of the project to a sustainable community business. This work has already been undertaken and will involve the expansion of the project to reflect the work currently undertaken by other furniture recycling projects.

Volunteers are central to our project and we are keen to involve as many as we can accommodate. Therefore if you would like to volunteer or you have any questions regarding the project, contact us.

For further information, contact:
David Garry
Enterprise Development Officer
Midlothian Advice & Resource Centre
10 Woodburn Road
Dalkeith, Midlothian
EH22 2AT
Tel & Fax: 0131 663 0400

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Company Registration No. 278156. Scottish Charity No. SC 029210