A KIRKCALDY-based company has been celebrating its first year of ‘picking up the bags’ following the withdrawal of a shopping delivery service.
On September 16, 2010 Lynne Ogilvie joined 14 former colleagues from the Council-run scheme to launch Fife Shopping and Support Services Ltd.
They began working from their new base in Mitchelston Industrial Estate just one day after the local authority service stopped.
Ms Ogilvie, home care co-ordinator with the Council service, and several colleagues put their own money into the new firm - a not-for-profit business.
She told the Press it has never been about the money - but providing an important service for the elderly and disabled people under the age of 65.
Ms Ogilvie said the past 12 months have been very challenging, but also very rewarding.
The firm’s service manager said: “It has gone well.
‘‘In the beginning it was hard because a lot of it was unknown.
‘‘Before we were working for the Council so there was always someone to ask for guidance, but by running the service ourselves, we had to get advice and figure things out as we went along.
“I have a fantastic team of staff and they have been amazing. It has been an exciting time - and a very busy time - for all of us.”
Fife Shopping and Support Services Ltd offers a shopping delivery and pension collection service.
It has also expanded to provide prescription collection, bill payments, housework and help with everything from posting items to gift collection.
Charges are based on the cost of provision only and any profits are used to develop and improve services for customers.
Ms Ogilvie is looking to develop the company over the next year by adding a befriending service and low maintance work such as changing curtains, and painting.
To support this she is looking at ways of accessing more funding and is in the process of applying for charitable status for the business.
She said: “By securing charitable status we can apply to other charitable organisations for funding which will help us to expand and add more vehicles to our fleet.”
The business has already received funding from Awards for All and Community Energy Scotland.
Some of this money was used to buy an electric vehicle to carry out deliveries.
They also had a £10,000 cash boost recently from the Coal Regeneration Trust which will allow them to buy another two vehicles.
Ms Ogilvie said they have also had financial support and advice from BRAG Enterprises and Business Gateway.
She said: “I owe them a huge thanks because the advice and guidance they have given has been fantastic.”
There are currently 300 people on their client list and Ms Ogilvie said they want to encourage more to use their services.
“People can call us and we can send them out an application form or I can go over the form with them on the phone,’’ she said.
‘‘ We can then get the service in place for them by the end of the week. We want to raise awareness of Fife Shopping and Support Services Limited and get more people to sign up with us.”
She added: “I want to thank all our customers and our fantastic team of experienced staff for their continued support - they are dedicated and love working with our clients.
‘‘I look forward to working with them and continuing to develop our services over the next year.”
Anyone wanting to use Fife Shopping and Support Service Ltd should contact (01592) 653344.