AN award-winning social enterprise is being forced to close its shop front after a struggle to secure funding.

The bright blue facade of Rags To Riches is a familiar sight to anyone who visits Victoria Road.

But bosses have announced the store will shut on February 1 - a real blow to the redevelopment of the South Side area.

Retail manager Clare Docherty said the move has come due to a mixture of issues, including the difficulty of finding funds and high rent.

Clare said: "We are a social enterprise so we rely on external funding and that has been very hard to come by in the past year.

Glasgow Times:

"It is a real shame because we have not been here very long.

"What we do here is absolutely amazing but we can't go on.

"We are all really sad about it as it is really nice to showcase so many local artists - we stock nearly 30 freelance designers and makers."

Rags To Riches is part of Govanhill Baths Community Trust, a group in charge of refurbishing Govanhill Baths as a health and wellbeing centre.

The Trust said it prefers to pay decent wages for staff, rather than rely on volunteer labour, but the cost of rent, utilities and salaries has become too much to cover.

The shop will now move online to the Trust's website.

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But, until February 1, there will be a 20 per cent off sale of all Rags to Riches and Govanhill Baths Community Trust products.

And Rags to Riches Social Enterprise will be continuing with outreach activities and workshops The Deep End on Nithsdale Street.

Clare said: "We will still be going ahead as usual in The Deep End arts venue where we have a variety of artists studios, a ceramics studio and a hairdressers, and we are still doing all our outreach work."

Examples of Rags To Riches work is seen across Govanhill, from the artworks on the lampposts in the community to designs for a new streetscape on sections of Victoria Road to its range of upcycled goods.

The social enterprise is also a Glasgow Times Community Champion winner.

And it has previously won the Scottish Government's Greener Together Award.

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Among other initiatives, Rags to Riches was set up to work with the local community to improve upcycling skills, providing new skills local people can use to help them find employment.

The project educates about the need to recycle what people no longer use and turn it into something they will use.

The shop was opened to showcase the many talented artists working in the local community as well as crafts produced by Rage To Riches upcycling.

Clare added: “Every day we still have people coming in who didn’t know we were here.

“That’s one of the problems with the high street - there aren’t as many people passing by so how do you let people know you are here and encourage them to come in?

“We are really keen to let people know that our products will still be available online too.”

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