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New Start Highand James Dunbar And Group

New Start Highland

Transforming lives through reuse and recycling.

Transforming lives and boosting the circular economy  

New Start Highland does a great job for the environment through collecting, recycling and reusing furniture and household goods - around 250 tonnes are diverted from landfill each year. 

But it's what New Start Highland does with these items, and the impact it has on people's lives, which makes them remarkable. Every item received and reused helps tackle poverty, homelessness and long-term unemployment in the Highlands.

Established in 2000, the business grew out of local charitable work to help those experiencing homelessness. Today New Start Highland - with its 80 employees and a similar number again of volunteers - collect, refurbish, and distribute household items; offer a housing support service for anyone at risk of homelessness, and provide workplace employability training and qualifications to help people gain the skills to get back into work. 

The business, which has charitable status, is headquartered in Inverness with two warehouses and a retail outlet in the city, as well as additional shops in Dingwall, Thurso and Wick.

New Start Highland website


We continue to work closely with Highland Council to develop ever more innovative solutions to homelessness and the problems it creates.
James Dunbar, chief executive, New Start Highland
New Start Highland Warehouse

New Start Highland Services

New Start Highland collects second hand furniture and household goods which are then sold through their shops and outlets or donated to households in need.

Working closely with the Highland Council housing team, New Start Highland supplies essential furniture and household items to help people setting up a home. More than 28,000 furniture and starter packs have been provided so far.  

The charity operates New Start Enterprises as a commercial arm to support its community work. In addition to operating the shops, this division offers a variety of services: removals and storage for house-movers; short and long term warehouse storage; house clearances within the Inverness area; bike sales and training courses - including forklift training and emergency first aid.

Find out more about services

New Start Highland Warehouse And Van

Environmental benefits

The majority of goods donated to New Start Highland would otherwise have ended up in landfill. The charity actively promotes refurbishment, spreading the message that just because something needs a minor repair, you don’t need to trash it.

In addition to diverting usable items from landfill, NSH is also committed to operating as sustainably as possible. Efforts are underway to move to an electric transport fleet and they use biomass systems for heating their premises.

Donated items are refurbished before being made available to a new home, and small electrical items are fully tested to PAT standards.

Over 8,000 tonnes of items diverted from landfill since 2000. Based on Zero Waste Scotland’s carbon savings calculator, this equates to a carbon emissions saving approaching 10,000 tonnes CO2e.

Download Zero Waste Scotland's carbon metric calculator


Support to develop the business

New Start Highland has worked closely with Highland Council, with the local authority helping them identify and reach those in need of donated items and also contributing funding for the new home starter packs.

The business has also received funding from a range of public bodies, including the Scottish Government, European Union, the European Social Fund, the European Community Fund, the Robertson Trust and Zero Waste Scotland.

We've also worked alongside the business, including development funding and access to a marketing graduate.

Find out more about HIE support

New Start Highland Session

Developing skills

Over the past 10 years, more than 500 people have secured employment through New Start Highland’s employability programmes. These programmes offer skills, qualifications and experience for vulnerable people.

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