New home required for homeless support charity SHAX

Homeless support charity, SHAX, has this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Crichton Trust to formalise their shared commitment to the development of a new purpose-built home for SHAX at The Crichton in Dumfries.

Founded in February 2012, SHAX is an award winning re-use furniture social enterprise and charity helping people in new and low-income households to start and sustain a home. SHAX currently operate from their base in Merrick House at The Crichton and provide essential support services and household supplies to local people who find themselves homeless, living in poverty or in temporary accommodation.

They provide emergency starter packs, a furniture and equipment loan service and tailored financial support packages and payment plans to enable their clients to purchase essential household goods. The SHAX warehouse is well-stocked with pre-loved furniture and household goods which as well as reducing the amount of household waste going into landfill, enables SHAX to generate income to fund client support services.  SHAX is open to the public (Monday to Friday 9.30am-4pm) for anyone who would like to buy or donate goods.

SHAX have experienced an increased demand for their services as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and while their current warehouse at The Crichton has served them well, it is no longer fit for purpose and is prohibiting the growth and expansion of their salesroom and support services.

The current SHAX base at Merrick House.

As part of this new Memorandum of Understanding, SHAX and The Crichton Trust have agreed to work in partnership to explore the possibility of new purpose built, low carbon premises for SHAX at The Crichton.

Speaking on behalf of The Crichton Trust about their commitment to SHAX, Gwilym Gibbons, Chief Executive said: “As a fellow social enterprise, we value our relationship with SHAX and appreciate the work they do to support the local community. Our values and ambitions are well aligned and while we acknowledge the need to find new premises, we would like to retain SHAX as a tenant and partner at The Crichton, so we are happy to provide land for new purpose-built premises on site. By supporting this shared development, we are helping to build a sustainable future for both organisations and fulfilling our obligations as a social enterprise.”

Joyce Harkness, Social Enterprise Manager at SHAX said: “We welcome the opportunity of working in partnership with The Crichton Trust and in supporting the growth of The Crichton community. The potential to design and develop new, fit for purpose, premises, based on strong green credentials, will not only enable SHAX to build capacity to grow and sustain the number of people benefitting from our homeless support services, but it will also enable us to deliver new and additional services to meet the increasing demand in our area.

“Benefiting from land and professional expertise from The Crichton Trust makes the project more achievable and deliverable within the ambitious timescales.  It has the potential to present new opportunities for collaboration with other tenants and partners at The Crichton too.”

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the 24 May 2021, formally marked the start of this collaborative project, which will, of course, be subject to funding support.

Anyone who would like to support the project can contact Joyce Harkness by email:

Top picture: Gwilym Gibbons, Chief Executive of The Crichton Trust and Joyce Harkness, Social Enterprise Manager at SHAX signing a Memorandum of Understanding, which confirms the shared commitment of both organisations to the development of a new purpose-built home for SHAX at The Crichton.