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Search for Turriff clothes bank premises in fight against poverty

By Kirsty Brown

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A campaign to launch a clothing bank in Turriff has hit a wall after being unable to find a storage space.

A clothing bank would operate similarly to the food bank, utilising a referral system to support those in the local area who need it most.

This could be particularly beneficial to young people, whose parents might struggle to be able to afford to kit them out with appropriate waterproof or warm clothing.

Despite garnering support from various community groups, the project has so far been unable to secure a premises to use for storing and organising clothing.

Between 2017 and 2020 it was estimated that 19 percent of Scotland's population were living in relative poverty.

Spearheading the campaign, Sandy McCaskill said: "We've been trying to get this project off the ground for four years, but now the biggest thing standing in our way is a space to operate from.

"We're sure there must be a suitable space - an empty room or outbuilding - somewhere that we could use, but it's finding it that's the problem.

"A lot of people don't realise that poverty has changed, it isn't the image of poverty which they have in their head.

"People say things like 'they can't be in poverty, they have a smartphone' but they're not looking at the bigger picture - they probably rely on that phone to get messages from the school, maybe even do homework, to be able to do their job, and stay connected with their family.

"It's not as easy as 'just sell the phone to pay the bills'.

"People are working and still forced to live below the poverty line, the picture of poverty in everyone's heads is no longer realistic.

"It's heartbreaking to think of the kiddies who are walking up to school in the winter in summer shoes and no coat when we could be helping them with wellies and a warm jacket.

"Of course nobody wants to believe that there is poverty in our community, that there are people who are struggling here in Turriff, but there are so it's about what we can do to help ease that burden.

"It would all be very discreet for those who need it, but it could make a real difference."

A similar project launched by Ythan Valley Rotary Club in January 2020 has been well used and has even expanded the area serviced due to high demand.

Anybody who thinks they might be able to help can contact Sandy on: 07756 298 500 or sandymccaskill @hotmail.com.

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