Bonnyrigg charity shop’s hopes of Stepping Stones to a new home

Stepping Stones volunteer Ian smith volunteer, Settlement Projects general manager Steve Robb and local councillor Janet lay-Douglas. Photo by Lisa Ferguson.
Stepping Stones volunteer Ian smith volunteer, Settlement Projects general manager Steve Robb and local councillor Janet lay-Douglas. Photo by Lisa Ferguson.

A Bonnyrigg charity shop and community projects hub, due to lose its home on April 1, is desperately looking to remain in Midlothian.

Stepping Stones has been operating out of the old Scotmid store on the High Street on and off since 2011. Run by the charity Settlement Projects, the shop has been given notice to vacate the premises as the building is due for demolition to enable the scheduled redevelopment of the site by Midlothian Council.

Settlement Projects general manager Steve Robb said: “We have made our views known to Midlothian Council that we would wish to continue in our long-standing commitment to our community work in the Midlothian area.

“We have a good team there, the work they do is really important. The current team has been there for the last year or two.

“We are keen to explore possible local relocation options and are in helpful ongoing discussions with representatives of Midlothian Council, with the support of Councillor Janet Lay-Douglas.

“There is nothing out there. Janet has been really helpful, but we are currently closing on April 1. We are down to the wire now, time is running out.

“It’s more than a charity shop. Doing local recycling in the community. Raising funds for activities, much of which are focused in the building.

“We have a shop in Leith but that is just a shop. There is no community space there like we have in Bonnyrigg.

“We work in partnership with various other organisations. A lot of artists have used that space to try to encourage an arts community in Midlothian. So they have been left homeless as well.”

Local councillor Janet Lay-Douglas (Con) said: “I am working closely with Steve Robb to try and help them relocate. Sadly there appears to be no options in Bonnyrigg, so I have put Steve in touch with contacts in the council to look at options in other areas of Midlothian.

“I think it would be a real shame for this charity to have to move out of Midlothian where it has served the community well with a high focus on zero waste.”

To thank the community for its support, Stepping Stones is having a free shop event on Saturday from 10am-6pm, giving away the shop’s stock. That will be followed by an arts event in the evening featuring artists and performers who have worked with the charity over the past four and a half years.

Steve added: “The aim is both to highlight the value of our work in the local area, and to thank the local population for their invaluable support, in advance of the closure of our Bonnyrigg premises.”

The ‘Settle Doon’ art events will take place between Settlement Project’s two community venues in Leith and in Bonnyrigg, beginning in Leith at 3pm, with coaches then going to the events beginning in Bonnyrigg at 7pm.