Vital West Lothian community shop forced to close as staff 'spat on and threatened'

Staff at a West Lothian social enterprise that supports local families have been spat on and threatened with violence.

Kidzeco has been forced to close its Bathgate store for the foreseeable future after workers were targeted and put at risk of "significant emotional and physical danger."

The renowned social enterprise is dedicated to promoting sustainability and supporting local families but has now been forced to close the store due to an increase in vandalism and threats towards staff.

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As the Courier reports, employees have been verbally abused, spat on and physically threatened in a pattern of repeat behaviour that bosses say has created an intimidating environment and made it difficult for the team to work in a safe and secure setting.

Founder Tracy Murdoch said: "Ensuring the safety of staff is a top priority, and these actions severely undermine their ability to provide a secure workplace."

The most recent incident, which occurred on Wednesday, May 22, resulted in a catastrophic leak in the roof, severely impacting on operations and community services.

The roof was targeted by a group of young people, leading to structural damage and a significant water leak.

Kidzeco said it was "part of a troubling pattern of ongoing vandalism that has plagued the shop, jeopardising both the physical integrity of the premises and ability to support the community."

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Part of the building used for hosting community activities has been rendered unusable due to water damage leaving crucial support sessions suspended and children's classes on hold.

The organisation has taken measures to enhance security and prevent future occurrences with the potential threat of closure a great concern for both the organisation and community - having served it for over 14 years.

A statement from the board of directors said; "We are deeply saddened by the ongoing vandalism that threatens our ability to support the local community. If these destructive acts continue, we may have no choice but to close our Bathgate shop, a decision that would affect many families who depend on our services.

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"Additionally, the safety and well-being of our staff are at risk, which is unacceptable. We believe that with community support, we can overcome this challenge.

"If you are a parent of a young person who you suspect may be involved in these acts of criminal damage we urge you to speak to them as a matter of urgency and highlight the importance of Kidzeco and the work we do and reinforce the value of our local community."