Hundreds of items belonging to a Dundee charity are being destroyed by a team sent in to clear its building.
Dundee Resource & Re-Use Centre is facing a race against time to clear its stock before its premises is sold.
The charity distributes furniture to people in need. It occupies a large warehouse in Dunsinane Avenue rent free, which has allowed the owner to save on rates.
It was initially told it would have to leave the premises on Thursday, with an extension later granted until Monday at 9am.
Northern Ireland-based owner Lotus Group is due to sell the premises to local life science firm Argenta.
The charity was earlier given a month’s extension to clear its stock, but hundreds of items remain.
‘Writing on the wall’
A team of workers was sent in to break up furniture on Thursday as the charity still tried to find new homes for its stock.
Mr McLaren said: “The previous manager died last year and his name was on the lease. The end of tenancy notice was sent to his widow.
“It was a messy start to the whole thing. Since then various folk from Graham and Sibbald (on behalf of Lotus Group) have been cajoling us to get out.
“We’ve been trying to get a bit more time but the sale to Argenta is for vacant possession.
“We know the writing is on the wall for exiting. But we are asking for some empathy and more time to get out.
“Finally, after 4.30pm on Thursday, we were told we can have the premises until 9am on Monday.”
Hard work clearing premises
Mr McLaren said the Dundee charity had been short on volunteers but had continued to work on a referral basis.
When the relaxation of rules on being open to the public came in April it worked for several weeks to make the premises safe for visitors.
Its goods are now advertised for free on Facebook.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve been overwhelmed – there’s not queues at the door – but there’s been an impressive, steady flow of items going out,” he said.
“Hundreds of items were taken away yesterday. We were non-stop.
“We have been working until 10pm delivering items.”
Furniture broken up
He said local agents Graham and Sibbald had instructed a local firm to come in to start recycling wood and metal items on Thursday.
“Some of the wardrobes being broken up for recycling today are still serviceable,” the manager added.
“We have to accept that we’ve given it a chance of a second life.
“At the end of the day recycling is an acceptable outcome in relation to dumping. I’m worried about the beds and settees.
“I understand that it’s not our building and we’ve had it rent free. We’ve also saved them a buckets in rates.”
Need for Dundee ‘furniture bank’
Mr McLaren, who is a volunteer for the Dundee charity, is unsure what its future holds.
He said it had given thousands of items to people in need and that it had demonstrated a need for a ‘furniture bank’ similar to a food bank.
He said the Facebook advert would create a rush to the charity. There is also office furniture, toys and even 20 suitcases available.
Lotus Group acquired the building from James Keiller Investments as part of a £60 million deal in 2018.
A spokesperson for Lotus Group said: “We have been working with the charity since March 2021 to support them as they leave the premises which is being sold.
“We have been as flexible as possible throughout this period, including agreeing to a request from the charity of a one month extension to their occupancy to enable them to remove their stock.”
Argenta was asked to comment.