Members from the Fife Furniture project recently spoke to Douglas Chapman, MP about their struggles with costs of their furniture project. The meeting was covered in their local newspaper.
West Fife charity hits out at soaring recycling centre costs
A WEST Fife charity has slammed soaring recycling centre costs which it says will hit the poorest hardest.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) says its ‘furniture project’ has been badly affected by massive leaps in charges to deposit items.
It provides free furniture and electrical goods to families in need, is run by volunteers and relies entirely on donations.
Fife Council aim to make charities and businesses pay increased costs for waste services in an attempt to claw back an estimated £150,000 per annum waste losses.
The SSVP fears it may struggle to continue helping as many people as it does currently, after having to shell out £150 a MONTH, compared to previously paying under £100 a year.
Moira McCrae, who helps run the Catholic charity’s West Fife-based furniture project from her home in Kingseat, said: “We got a dreadful shock.
“We’ve been happy to pay a small fee per annum since we started, so this has hit us hard.
“The council has been great to us, but since March it’s gone haywire. We are all volunteers and depend on donations to give furniture and white goods to any family or individual who needs it.
“The council said charities have enjoyed paying a nominal fee for too long. So this will affect other charities across Fife too.”
According to Fife Council’s website, the recycling ticket scheme is currently ‘under review’. Changes are expected to be announced shortly and begin in September.
It’s expected that only some charities are to be given a reduced rate.
Richard Steinbach, president of the SSVP in Edinburgh and St Andrews diocese, said: “We do not, under any circumstances, charge anyone for the work we do.
“We previously had a certificate of dispensation in order to avoid charges. We think that as we are a charity funded entirely from donations and as we help council tenants that this is outrageous.”
Douglas Chapman, MP for Dunfermline & West Fife, has urged the council to ensure small charities that help the poorest people in West Fife and which don’t make a profit are not unfairly penalised.
He said: “It’s not unreasonable for small charities to expect to be given a reduced rate.
“The SSVP’s furniture project helps the council by providing furniture and white goods for tenants, who are struggling financially, across the whole of West Fife and at no cost.
“It seems curious that there may be some charities which will not be charged, while others will. That’s something I will investigate in a bid to get a fair deal for charities that are doing valuable work for people who are often in desperate need of help.”
Chris Ewing, chief operating officer at Fife Resource Solutions told the Dunfermline Press he was aware there may have been an ‘inconsistency’ when it came to charging charities for using recycling centres.
He said: “Although we haven’t quite finalised the review, we anticipate that bona fide, Fife-based charities will no longer be charged for recycling at our centres.”
**Update- Moira McCrae of the furniture project recently received word that the fees will be waived and any fees paid will be returned.