£85,000 handed out to local good causes

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THE WINDING up of Montrose and Area Furniture Recycling and Distribution (MAFRAD), meant that a total of £85,000 was disbursed to 15 local charities at a ceremony in the George Hotel on Wednesday.

The money was the proceeds of the sale of the project’s building, and accrued funds.

The 15 organisations which benefitted were: Furniture Recycling Programme Angus, Angus Association of Voluntary Organisations, Dorward House, Montrose Town Band, RNLI Montrose Branch, Brechin Day Care, Montrose YM, The Youth Project Brechin, Montrose Old Church Benevolent Fund, 1st Montrose Scouts, 4th Montrose Rainbow Unit, the Ian McIntosh Memorial Fund, Links Park Community Trust and The City of Brechin Pipe Band.

The founder of the project, Mrs Kitty Ritchie, said that over its 10 years more than 500 tons of furniture was recycled, and more than 2,000 families and individuals were helped.

She continued: “When I started up the project there was no help available to first-time tenants, and I was shocked to find people with no beds to sleep on or chairs to sit on.

“Through the Homeless Act, which was later adopted, Angus Council recognised our work and generously provided us with a service level agreement to help sustain us as we provided their first-time tenants with furniture.

Mrs Ritchie went on to say that when it became evident that running both the Montrose and Arbroath projects was not sustainable, the decision was taken to close.

She concluded: “I am pleased our partner in Arbroath, Furniture Recycle Project Angus, will continue to provide furniture for the homeless.”

Val Coupar, manager of the YM, Murray Street, said: “This is an appropriate moment to reflect on the lady with the drive, commitment, determination and foresight to take an idea and turn it into reality. We went from a shared, draughty shed in Murray Lane, to another dingy, draughty shed in Balmain Street. It was purchased on a promise with a leaky roof and blocked gutters.

“Then came the installation of a posh portable building as an office, the addition of a cosy kitchen-cum-meeting room and toilet facilities, and MAFRAD developed into a well-managed project manned by dedicated part-time staff while providing a welcoming environment to a number of volunteers over the years.

“Volunteering at MAFRAD brought lots of opportunities - training courses through the college, appropriate clothing for the job and becoming part of a team.”

Val concluded: “It has been a real privilege to have been associated with the project and a real honour to get to know the lady at the helm.”