New Start Highland Looking to Expand After Reaching £1m Turnover
By NEIL MACPHAIL
A community business in Inverness that repairs used household goods has grown to have an annual turnover of £1million – and is planning to expand.
New Start Highland (NSH) is a social enterprise which helps the most vulnerable people in society.
It has been granted £162,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) towards its expansion plans.
NSH operates from premises in the city’s Carsegate and works in the wider Inner Moray Firth area. It was set up in 1999 and its activities provide a range of opportunities to people seeking a new start, such as employment and training, housing support services and volunteering places.
The organisation collects unwanted household items and either sells them through local outlets or provides them to household tenants who might otherwise not be able to acquire them.
NSH is now constrained by the limits of its current premises and has plans to expand warehousing facilities and increase its office space by developing a new building on its current site.
HIE’s grant of £162,000 is a contribution to the total proposal costs of £738,000.
NSH is also pursuing additional plans to create three smaller starter units for other social enterprises which will benefit from having NSH as a supportive neighbour.
NSH is a recognised City and Guilds Training Centre which provides 50 training and work experience places for people who are long-term unemployed.
Part of the new warehousing will be used to develop the organisation’s industry-specific certified courses in areas such as electrical repair of household goods; warehousing, painting and decorating and waste management.
HIE’s Nicola Ewing, from the Inner Moray Firth area team, who works with NSH on the agency’s account management model, said: “NSH started with a single staff member and a turnover of £50,000. Last year it turned over £1million and had a staff roll of almost 50.
“It is an excellent example of an ambitious social enterprise making a valuable contribution to a number of fundamental national objectives – increasing its turnover, creating employment opportunities and growing its contribution to environmental targets.
“By contributing to its funding target for office and warehouse expansion, HIE will be helping NSH to become more sustainable and less grant-dependent. It will enable the sector to grow and contribute to additional jobs in the region.”
NSH chief executive James Dunbar said: “Working with staff from HIE has been very beneficial for our business.
“They understand our aspirations and have supported our plans with focused expertise.
“By approving this grant, HIE is helping us to support those seeking to improve their prospects in life, while simultaneously contributing to a better environment.”
It is anticipated the expansion project could be completed by December of this year.
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