Owner fears store will end up on the scrap heap

W41015P11 WH ALCHEMIST GT 10.10.11.'' Worthing Alchemist Centre .......... Phil Elleston , manager .....  W41015P11.
W41015P11 WH ALCHEMIST GT 10.10.11.'' Worthing Alchemist Centre .......... Phil Elleston , manager ..... W41015P11.

A SCRAP store which has been serving the community for 21 years is facing closure as its funds reach critically low levels.

Alchemist Scrap Store on Meadow Road, Worthing, is in its 11th hour with rising council bills and dwindling membership taking a serious toll on its financial resources.

The charity takes in unwanted material from businesses and sells it on to educational and community organisations at a low price, saving the material from being taken to landfill.

The store also offers work experience placements to students, and allows those out of work or are socially disadvantaged to work shifts on a weekly basis.

Paul Elleston, 55, from Littlehampton, has been manager at the store for the past 16 years.

“This store turned my life around,” he said.

“I came here a broken man. I was long-term unemployed.

“The previous manager offered me a placement here and I’ve been working ever since.”

He added: “We have survived two previous recessions, but at the moment it really doesn’t look like we are going to survive this one.”

Paul said the store needs around £25,000 to secure its long-term future, after a lottery funding application was rejected.

Southwick Players member Anita Shipton, 66, is a regular visitor to the store, and said: “We use the material for scenery and props. It will be such a shame if it closes down.”

“I think it’s silly when we are forever having the importance of recycling rammed down our throats, and when someone comes along with a real solution, no-one can support them,” added Anita.

Davison High School design technology teacher Jackie Blendell, 52, said her department could not function without the cheap resources the Alchemist scrap store offers.

“Last year, our year-eight activities week was entirely funded by the store,” she said.

“We got all of our materials from there, enough for 130 kids.

“It will be such a loss if they close down, it is the best store in the area. Our department will struggle without it, as we have had to make cuts as well.”