Pioneering Shop ‘n’ Swap Project Opens in Sanquhar

A CHARITY which has been active in Upper Nithsdale for 23 years has launched a pioneering Swap ‘n’ Shop’ project. It is based at premises in Sanquhar High Street, which were officially opened this week by Dumfriesshire Constituency MSP Oliver Mundell.


In a UK first for the charity, the bright and breezy shop allows families to exchange items at no cost or make purchases of clothing, toys or household goods at low cost.


For every bag of donated clothing a person brings in, they will receive two tokens to use towards a purchase.


Staff and a team of local volunteers look after the service and a referral system is in place for social services, education, health and other appropriate agencies to obtain clothing for children, young people and families in need.


Action for Children has run the Upper Nithsdale Families Service in Kelloholm for more than two decades.


The Swap ‘n’ Shop scheme initially operated at Kelloholm but funding has allowed the charity to take over the disused Sanquhar shop to provide a wider service.


Financial help was provided by the Scottish Government ‘Inspiring Communities’ fund, The Holywood Trust and Foundation Scotland.


Upper Nithsdale Families Service co-ordinator Jill Wright said: “We had been offering those we support in Upper Nithsdale a recycling area for children and young people’s clothing, shoes and toys for a number of years. 
“This was a popular and much-used service and we identified a need for a much larger service.”


Oliver Mundell cut a ribbon to officially open the shop at 84 High Street and praised all the hard work of those bringing the project to completion.


He said: “I’ve been impressed with the work carried out over many years by Action for Children Scotland in Upper Nithsdale.
“The pioneering Swap ‘n’ Shop’ concept with the use of tokens, together with the high-quality well-presented stock, provides a valuable community resource.
“The staff and team of enthusiastic volunteers are fantastic and making a real difference to those they help. They have already received many donations.” 
Oliver added that by giving a new lease of life to the goods, such as almost mint condition children’s clothing and toys, the Swap ‘n’ Shop concept was also environmentally-friendly.

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