A LEADING self-storage company has kept a promise to help out a youth group with the free use of a secure shipping container facility.

The First Sedgefield Girl Guide Company recently found itself without a home for vital and valuable camping equipment, so the U Hold The Key firm, which has its headquarters in Sedgefield, stepped in to help.

U Hold The Key is one of the UK’s leading self-storage firms, and is a division of the Parsons Containers Group.

The company has around 1,500 container stores with 24/7 access for customers, on sites throughout the North-East, in Mainsforth near Ferryhill, Bishop Auckland, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, A19 under the Tees flyover, on the A66 near Darlington, Sunderland, Birtley, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Alnwick.

Earlier in the year, U Hold The Key offered free storage to charities and social enterprises during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Subject to terms and conditions, those who needed container storage had the opportunity to access up to six months of free, secure self-storage in a U Hold The Key container at one of the firm’s sites based at locations throughout the region.

The First Sedgefield Girl Guide Company is making use of a 20ft storage unit at the company’s Mainsforth site.

There have been guides and brownies in Sedgefield for nearly 80 year and the group has almost 40 members today.

For a long time, their leader was Jackie Postgate, who regularly took girls from Sedgefield, Fishburn, Bishop Middleham and the surrounding area away on camping trips and stored all of the equipment in a garage at home.

She passed away early this year and her daughter – and current leader – Julie Towler has had to find somewhere new to keep the essential equipment.

The guide’s leader said: “When we realised that the group no longer had a home for the large amount of camping equipment that we’d accumulated over the years, we were really concerned about finding somewhere to keep it that was not only secure and dry, but wasn’t going to cost us the earth as we rely on charitable donations.

“The offer from U Hold The Key came at the perfect time, and we were very pleased to accept the free use of a self-storage container. The secure location is ideal and it’s really good to know that we can have access to our kit whenever we need it.

"The support has given us the breathing space to fundraise so that we can either keep the current store, or find an alternative location in the future.”

Damien Murphy, managing director of the Parsons Containers Group, said: “At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, while we dealt with our own business challenges like everyone else, we pledged to do our bit to support the wider community. The charity and volunteer sector has been particularly impacted by the pandemic, so we decided to offer some free storage to support some local community organisations during these challenging times.

“There has been a lot of interest in our offer and we’re currently helping out a variety of groups across the North-East. As a business that is headquartered in Sedgefield, we were really pleased to help the local girl guide group out with a safe, secure and easy to access space to store their camping equipment.”