Free furniture available for flood victims

Community Furniture Stores in York, Selby and Scarborough will be able to offer more free furniture to flood victims in York and North Yorkshire, as organisations around the country send extra supplies for those hit worst by the Christmas flooding.

Organised by the York Community Furniture Store and the Furniture Reuse Network, extra sofas, beds and mattresses will be available free of charge to those whose own furniture had to be thrown away following the recent flooding.  Donations arriving in North Yorkshire in the next few days include a lorry load of armchairs and sofas from the Re-use Centre in Bedford, and 100 ex-display or returned beds, mattresses and headboards from manufacturer Airsprung Beds, based in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. Harvey’s Furniture are donating 64 new sofas and another large company has offered bedding to go with the Airsprung Beds.

Ruth Batty, Chief Officer of the charities says, “Lots of private donations have also been made and we really appreciate the work of the various volunteer groups set up in response to the flooding that helped to collect and distribute items to those in urgent need. Such has been the support - both local and national - that we have had to expand our storage capacity with the help of The Raylor Centre and also Pickford’s who are both providing free storage for items donated. We have also had the use of two additional vans offered. We really need extra volunteers to help with deliveries and collections as well as warehouse duties.”

“The national donations are fantastic news for our existing centres in York and Selby, and our new Community Furniture Store in Scarborough which opens on 18 January – we always carry a large stock of good quality second hand furniture which is donated by local people, but at times like this when hundreds of households need to entirely refurnish ground floors, demand is exceedingly high,” comments Graham Mitchell, a trustee of the three charities.  “It is fantastic to see such support from other part of the country that have not been affected by floods, helping those in greatest need at this tough time, with donations of not only the items, but logistical support to transport several tonnes of items around the country”.

Ruth Batty adds “We are addressing immediate needs for those being rehoused in temporary accommodation, but anyone who has had their home flooded can be assured that assistance is available. Brand new items will be provided to families who are entitled to flood relief under the scheme managed by Two Ridings Community Foundation completely free of charge.”

People who do not qualify for financial assistance can still purchase new items at our very low prices.  Anyone wishing to apply for new furniture or white goods can apply through the local flood relief channels, or, if urgent, direct to the Community Furniture Stores (Applications to http://www.trcf.org.uk  or 01904 435277). Donated items that are re-used will be free to any person whose home has been flooded and furniture etc, spoiled. Applications for re-used items can be made direct to Community Furniture Store; proof of address will be required.

This latest flood relief effort highlights the crucial work of charities like the Community Furniture Store, whose income is set to be slashed in the future if cuts to the re-use budgets are implemented.  The Community Furniture Stores rescue a huge amount of furniture from going to landfill, and in Selby & Scarborough they receive Re-Use Credits from North Yorkshire County Council who benefit by reducing the amount of landfill within their area.  However, with cuts biting hard, NYCC and others are looking to reduce these reuse payments, putting organisations like Community Furniture Stores at risk.*

“We have an extremely high turnover of furniture, which is essential for people and families on the lowest incomes, but if we lose the Re-Use Credits that we receive in Selby & Scarborough, it fundamentally changes how we can operate.  The only way to create additional revenue to keep operating would be to raise the prices of our furniture – which would directly impact on the most vulnerable people in society,” explains Graham.  “Whilst you might think that recycling has little to do with welfare, in our situation the two sit hand-in-glove providing essential items to those in most need.  Indeed, in most areas, local authorities fund the emergency essentials for those living in poverty through local assistance funds – if they cut their Re-Use credits, they’ll have to increase welfare payments, so cutting re-use credits is an entirely false saving.”

Part of the charity’s work also help individuals who, for no fault of their own, have been long-term unemployed and need work experience to build confidence and demonstrate that they are indeed capable of doing good work to potential employers.  That support work would also be lost should the cuts take place.

York’s Community Furniture Store is based at Unit 29, The Raylor Centre off James Street, whilst Selby’s is at Unit 2 Bawtry Road Industrial Estate.  The new Scarborough Community Furniture Store is at the Mount View Business Park, will be officially opened by the Mayor of Scarborough at 11.30 on 18 January 2016.

For more information, please visit www.communityfurniturestore.co.uk

ENDS

Notes to editors:

*City of York Council supports the York store’s work by way of a small annual service level agreement, which is not affected under current proposals.

For further media information, please contact:

Graham Mitchell, Vice Chair on graham.mitchell7@gmail.com or

Ruth Batty, Chief Officer on ruth.batty@communityfurniturestore.co.uk

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