Don’t dump it, donate it

Tuesday 26 November 2013

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
It’s a win-win situation. You have your furniture picked up for free, and it makes a massive difference to the lives of a local family. And it is a REAL difference. Your unwanted table could be a place where a local child can sit and do their homework for the first time, where a family can sit to eat a meal together. Your bed could mean a person no longer sleeping on the floor. Some 45% of low income families cannot afford to replace worn out furniture, any other way.

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.

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
Now, nine years later, Samia is in the position to give something back. “I am moving to Southwark, so I contacted Homestore to take my sofa and my glass-fronted wardrobe” she says. “I wanted to say Thank you”.

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
In 2012/13,  some 1,881 low income households bought 5,926 items of furniture from Homestore

……… 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
………… It’s the difference between a successful and failed tenancy
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
Homestore accepts most types of household furniture that is clean and in good condition and can be safely carried out of a property by two people.

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Call: 020 8519 6264

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’.

1 comment:

  1. It's a wonderful scheme. Step by step it's possible to build community wealth. This is where local people can reduce cash use and put surplus cash into a form of communal investment where there is co-operative and transparent decision making.The accumulation can lead to projects such as creating work, owned and run by community. A practical solution to stemming capital flight and the often ruinous ways that that leads to, in local communities, in most of the world! Austerity fails communities.Community wealth building can help.Democratizing wealth, what could be better?


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