West Lothian social enterprise forced to close shop after staff 'spat on and threatened'

-Credit: (Image: West Lothian Courier)
-Credit: (Image: West Lothian Courier)

A social enterprise that supports West Lothian families has been forced to close one of its shops due to vandalism and fears for staff safety after workers were spat on and threatened with violence.

Kidzeco, a renowned social enterprise dedicated to promoting sustainability and supporting local families, is closing its Bathgate store for the foreseeable future due to ongoing vandalism.

The issue poses a “significant emotional and physical danger” to the staff team where staff have been verbally abused, spat on and physically threatened.

Bosses say the repeated attacks have created an intimidating environment, making 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.”

The upstairs space of the Bathgate shop, essential for hosting community activities and classes, has been rendered unusable due to water damage.

As a result, crucial support sessions for new and expectant parents have been suspended, children’s classes are currently on hold and all community activities fostering community engagement cannot proceed.

The loss of vital storage space also undermines Kidzeco’s fundamental commitment to environmental sustainability: If pre-loved items cannot be stored, they cannot be sold.

Kidzeco has been a cornerstone of the Bathgate community for over 14 years, providing essential support and resources.

The potential closure of Kidzeco s Bathgate shop is a matter of great concern for both the organisation and the community at large.

The organisation has taken measures to enhance security and prevent future occurrences and are working with

other local retailers, the police, local councillors and the local authority In response to this ongoing threat to implement security measures across all affected areas, ensuring a collective approach to preventing vandalism.

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.

“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.”

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