A charity which supplies people in emergency housing with essential items has literally ground to a halt.
Volunteers at Lochee Community Group are appealing to communities to help them find a replacement van and get their service back on the road again.
The group normally use their van to collect unwanted household items from donors in Dundee , then store and repair them at their warehouse, a former Levi’s factory, on Dunsinane Avenue.
Volunteer Alison Walker said: “We were caught off-guard because the van had been regularly serviced and we had just paid out £350 for welding for it to pass it’s MOT.
“We were in the process of collecting items from a donor, had loaded up the van and it just wouldn’t start.”
Covid restrictions hit operations
Working in partnership with statutory services, the group normally receive citywide referrals for essential household items and use the van to deliver them to people moving into emergency or crisis housing.
Volunteer Lorraine Kidd said the costs of running the service was previously covered through sales at a shop on Lochee Road, which sells second hand, refurbished items at a low cost.
But lockdown and Covid-restrictions forced the shop to close last year, leaving the charity struggling to meet the costs of running the warehouse and pay a repair bill for the van.
Lorraine said: “Our group is one of Dundee’s best kept secrets – we support so many people who have to be rehoused through no fault of their own.
“But when we had to close the shop our income vanished overnight and without a van we’re unable to provide our service.”
The group is appealing to anyone who might be able to donate a van to the charity to allow services to resume, or even loan one and the charity will cover the cost of insurance.
Alison said: “It would mean we could resume our service and we could apply for funding, we can’t get funding if our services are not running – it’s a catch-22 situation.”
She added that although the van has been well looked after, it is 13-years-old and had been used by another charity for several years before it was donated to them three years ago.
Lochee councillor Alan Ross said: “These volunteers are doing great work for the community which has been invaluable through the pandemic.
“People would be surprised to see how much this service is needed but with something as simple as no access to a van it have been brought to a halt.
“Now that we’re back in lockdown, maybe someone has a fleet which they’re no longer using and could loan to the group – it would be greatly appreciated.”
Anyone who might be able to help is urged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the group’s Facebook page.