A Falkirk charity that is supporting people through the cost of living crisis will be able to transform two vacant retail units for the nominal rent of £1.
Kersiebank Community Project, a registered charity, is currently based in Grangemouth’s La Porte Precinct, where volunteers run services including a food bank.
However, members of Falkirk Council’s executive heard that having larger premises will allow the charity to expand its services to include a school uniform exchange, a clothing and baby equipment bank and a cookery school along with other activities.
In the new units at 21 and 54 Charlotte Dundas Court – formerly a butcher and a Post Office/Spar shop – the group will continue to run the food bank and also open a small community café that will include providing local school pupils with meals.
The move is expected to be easier for clients to get to and it is hoped will generate increased footfall in Charlotte Dundas Court.
The centre has 19 units but four are currently vacant.
Head of Invest Falkirk Paul Kettrick told councillors these have been “very challenging to let” and it was appropriate to use a community benefit lease to allow the charity to take up two empty units as the group cannot afford to pay rent.
Work on the property will be funded by a dilapidation payment received by the council from a previous tenant, of £30,000, while Ineos community projects will donate another £30,000 to fit the units out.
Members heard that the group has a strong leadership and praised the sound business plan as they supported the move to allow the charity to expand.
Councillor Paul Garner said that groups like KCP were “a necessity for far too many in the current cost of living crisis”.
He read a message from the local SNP councillor David Balfour, who said they do “fantastic work in the town”.
Conservative leader James Kerr said it was a “win win” situation as the group is continuing the fantastic work it did through the Covid crisis.
“When the communities needed someone to step up to the mark, this group certainly did it,” he said.