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Helping with the Cost of Living

Berwickshire Swap has recently been supported by the Essentia Foundation along with our partner, Foundation Scotland, through the Drone Hill Wind Farm Community Fund, and their story is quite a journey.

The project was started by Catherine Goldsmith in 2019 from her dining room in the village of Reston in Berwickshire. She, alongside a handful of other mums from the local primary school, had the bright idea to swap their children’s clothing. So, they set up a few tables in the village hall and swapped their kids’ jumpers, trousers and jackets. This gave them the chance to find clothes that fitted their children while getting rid of the clothes that no longer fitted them, keeping costs to a bare minimum and also recycling clothes which may have otherwise ended up as landfill. 

Now, post pandemic but with the cost-of-living crisis still hitting people hard, Berwickshire Swap has grown arms and legs. They have been granted charitable status, raised funds to buy a van so that they can travel to other local communities, and have recruited a small team of volunteers. They were also recently awarded a small grant from the National Lottery Community Fund to support the employment of two part-time project co-coordinators. At the same time, it was becoming obvious that permanent premises would also be beneficial, from where a range of clothing, toy and household recycling and redistribution activities could take place, benefiting disadvantaged families in more surrounding communities.

Late last year, they applied for funding through Foundation Scotland for two areas of support, and were awarded £6,660 from the Drone Hill Wind Farm Community Fund, which is provided by Shroders Greencoat, to cover their rent for a year, and £3000 from the Essentia Foundation to help with running costs. They are also applying for other funds administered by Foundation Scotland with the ambition of expanding beyond Berwickshire.  Watch this space!

Take a look at their story which was recently published on the BBC and how they are supporting the Cost of Living across their community.



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