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Charity's new base to help support schools abroad

By Kyle Ritchie

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A new charity shop has opened in Banff which supports education projects in foreign countries.

Books Abroad has opened its new base in the town's High Street.

The charity was founded as LINK in 1982 and was originally based in a cupboard in the Brander library in Huntly.

Now based in Rhynie, its work relies on the support of its volunteers, who are the heart of its operations.

Books Abroad trustee Gary McGregor (right) and councillor Glen Reynolds at the charity's new base in Banff.
Books Abroad trustee Gary McGregor (right) and councillor Glen Reynolds at the charity's new base in Banff.

Books Abroad collect good quality second-hand books donated by schools, colleges, universities and private individuals from all over Scotland and redistributes them to educational establishments around the world in response to specific requests for support.

It has successfully distributed 3.2 million books to 95 countries over the last 37 years.

There are a wide range of books for sale in the Banff shop which have all been donated then carefully selected.

These books are for sale in the shop because they are not suitable for sending overseas due to them being non-academic or educational material.

Several of the volunteers come from Banff, Portsoy and Macduff. To help raise the profile of Books Abroad, as well as funds, fundraiser and trustee Gary McGregor, who is from Portsoy, has taken on a six-month lease of a shop in Banff High Street.

He had been very successful with a 10-week stint of a pop-up shop in Banff earlier on in the year.

The shop is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Books can be dropped off and volunteers are welcome to help out.

Mr McGregor said: “I am delighted to have opened the shop in Banff High Street after a trial run in the same area.

"Its aim is to raise the profile of the charity in Banff and the surrounding area adding to our awareness already in the Rhynie, Huntly and Insch areas.

“In making the shop a success, we shall hopefully recruit more volunteers, and make the general public aware that we will accept book donations.

"We hope to raise funds which will go towards covering our transportation costs in delivering educational books overseas.

"By selling good quality second hand books, which may otherwise landed in landfill sites in our area, we can then supply educational books we receive from schools, colleges and universities, to educational establishments abroad – all in an attempt to promote literacy, education and understanding to overcome poverty in developing countries.

“Please come along and see the wide selection of books we have in our Banff shop.

"I am sure you will see that we are providing the local area with good value for money.

"I would personally like to see our six-month lease extend to its full 12 months.”

Banff and district councillor Glen Reynolds has welcomed the move by the charity.

He said: “As a local councillor, I am pleased to see an initiative aimed at providing help towards volunteering opportunities, and to see the aims and objectives at helping others less fortunate in the developing world.

"The books for sale and donations in the shop are also of incredibly good value and are in great condition.

"I would ask folk to consider what general reading they may wish to donate, as well as books in good condition that they may have of an educational nature, which is ultimately the chief product of Books Abroad.”

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