Forest Gate has seen its fair share of waste problems in the past. From fly-tipping on Wanstead Flats to the latest insistence by the council that residents clear up their rubbish filled front gardens or face a fine . But there are better ways to say goodbye to your unwanted furniture than leaving it out to look forlorn on a Forest Gate street corner.
Maryland-based charity Homestore picks up good-quality used furniture such as sofas, wardrobes, chests of drawers, from your home and provides it at an affordable price to low-income families. Now, as part of Newham Council’s Crisis and Community Support Scheme, Homestore is contracted to provide furniture and white goods, in a cashless system, to families in dire need referred by Newham Council.
|Homestore's catchment area|
|Can you help? These kind of goods, in the |
storeroom, are needed and wanted by others
Faced with this situation, it is easy for families to resort to payday lenders, of which Forest Gate has its share, or enter into credit agreements whereby although they pay weekly, the items they purchase end up costing massively over the odds.
In 2012/13 drivers picked up 5,467 furniture donations from homes in East London.
Forest Gate resident Samia Bouraiou was herself a Homestore customer when she moved in to the area in 2004. “I bought a few things for my flat when I moved in. The people at the store are lovely and I got a really nice welcome, it made a big difference. Homestore was the only place that was affordable to me at the time.
|Picking up goods for Homestore - when its easy|
Unfortunately, things are never that simple. When Jim and Dave came round to pick up the sofa, it got jammed in the doorway! “They were holding it, half in and half out” Samia laughs, “and I was having to crawl underneath to go in to the house to find a screwdriver so that they could take off one of the sofa’s feet to get it out the door”. She says of Dave and Jim “they worked so hard, it is not easy, but I think that they will remember me at Homestore, even when I have moved away”.
|Picking up goods for Homestore|
when its difficult!
Sonia's jammed sofa
……… It’s freedom from debt
Delivering a sofa to a customer in Leyton, she tells us: ‘I shop at Homestore so that I don’t get into debt. This sofa cost £40 so that is not problem for me’. Homestore pegs its prices to be significantly lower than any other second hand furniture available on the high street. This means that in 2012/13 our customers saved a total of £59,000 by using the service.
|Unwanted by YOU, needed by others|
A referral agent points out that Homestore can make the difference between a positive and a negative outcome for vulnerable new tenants: “Our service users […] would not be able to purchase essential furniture such as beds without Homestore support. This would increase the risk of tenancy failure and a return to homelessness.”
………… It’s 261 vans full of furniture saved from landfill last year
In 2012/13 Homestore delivered 130.5 tons of unwanted furniture to a new home. All this furniture would have gone to landfill in the seven boroughs in which we work.
|One of 261 vanloads, saving unwanted |
furniture from landfill tips last year
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Quaker Social Action (QSA) is an award-winning anti-poverty charity working primarily across east and north London offering a range of services to meet low-income Londoners’ needs. Founded in 1867 by Quakers, there is no religious element to the work; rather QSA works to deliver its vision of ‘a just world, where people put people first’.