STIRLING'S Thistles shopping centre has donated almost £1,000 to charity since reopening in April.

The centre is celebrating a remarkable year of giving back to the local community through its #ThistlesHelps initiative, from charity partnerships through to supporting local businesses.

Since the centre fully re-opened in April this year it has delivered charity partnerships with foodbank Start Up Stirling and Reanimate, a local animal charity with a focus on improving people’s mental health and wellbeing. 

To date £550 has been raised for Start Up Stirling through the Communities Beyond Covid appeal, which saw the introduction of a tap to donate station within the centre. 

A further £400 was gifted to Reanimate following the Littlest Pet Shop event in summer.  

The local community has thrown its support behind both charities, with an additional 467.11kgs worth of products donated to Start Up Stirling through the donation station at Thistles to support the foodbank.

Following its successful #ThistlesHelps competition to help a local business recover post-Covid-19, Centre Stage Dancewear began its free five-month lease of a 1,000 sq ft retail unit at the end of August.

Lesley Ann, Centre Stage Dancewear co-founder, said: “We were so delighted to win the competition and be given the opportunity to have a store in the Thistles.

“The response from local dance schools and customers has been amazing.”

Gary Turnbull, centre director at Thistles, added: “The last 19 months have been difficult for most of us as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the necessary restrictions placed on a number of industries including retail.

“This time has however allowed us to refocus our energies and consider what we want the future of the centre to look like, a result of which has been the introduction of our #ThistlesHelps initiative which aims to help individuals and businesses in the local community. 

“The work we’ve done through #ThistlesHelps to give back to the community has been a real highlight for all of us at Thistles and it’s thanks to the support from visitors to the centre that we’ve been able to make a real difference to our charity partners, something we hope to build on even more as we gear up for our festive activity with Strathcarron Hospice and Start Up Stirling.”