Ottery RIO's SOS

PUBLISHED: 11:50 12 July 2009 | UPDATED: 09:39 18 June 2010

STAFF at Recycling In Ottery (RIO) have issued a plea for help after revealing they fear for the future of the much-valued service.

STAFF at Recycling In Ottery (RIO) have issued a plea for help after revealing they fear for the future of the much-valued service.

Stock at the Exeter Road site is being ruined by leaking water from the roofs of its deteriorating cabins, and dedicated volunteers fear they could soon deemed a "health hazard".

Louise Turner, 25, who spends more than 30 hours a week at the non-profit service without pay, said: "We've had to take the lights out of the ceilings, there's water coming through the walls and goods are getting damaged. I have genuine concerns if this goes on. The place has to be safe for people to come and walk round. There are lots of safety concerns.

We are struggling financially because of the amount of repairs that need doing and the stock we are losing. We aren't getting anywhere near what it takes to get this fixed, we're not actually making money at the moment.

"We are also frequently getting broken into and having to spend money on locks, there are a lot of broken windows as well.

"It is such a busy place, everybody loves it here but it's when you ask for help when you get a problem.

"I do fear the worst but know that everybody cares too much about the place to let it happen."

RIO, which strives to stop useful items going to landfill by giving them another chance to be sold, came to the aid of numerous devastated Ottery flood victims last year, providing them with replacement furniture free of charge.

Director Chris Cattigan, 52, helped found the service 16 years ago.

He said: "The cabins are deteriorating and we are struggling to keep up with our rent and everything else in the place.

"People go to sit on a sofa and it squelches because its been soaked. Stuff gets destroyed and we are losing money in disposal costs, it's quite sad.

"People are also holding on to their recyclables because of the current economic climate.

"The place has always looked run down, people probably don't realise we are worse off.

"Ideally we need to get rid of all the cabins and re-build. I am certain we will always be here to provide a service to our customers."

Chris and Louise are looking for local businesses to sponsor a cabin at the site. Anyone interested in helping can contact RIO on (01404) 815825.


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