A CHARITY that helps people to buy low-cost furniture and household items is expanding.
The County Durham Furniture Help Scheme assists more than 2000 families in the region every month and has just opened its fourth showroom to meet ever-increasing demand.
Based on the Chilton Industrial Estate in Ferryhill, the charity was founded in 1970 and re-launched as CDFHS in 2004 by Chris Palmer, Ray Brown and Diane Brown.
It makes free collections of furniture, household goods, carpets, clothes, gardening items, scrap metals, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), before restoring and refurbishing items which are then made available for a suitable donation.
A team of more than 30 volunteers, some of whom are disabled or sensory impaired, all give their time to ensure the charity runs and meets the ever-increasing demands.
Founder Chris Palmer said: “We rely on the generosity of the residents and businesses of County Durham and neighbouring counties who have surplus or unwanted items to donate to us.
“Our team of volunteers repair and refurbish items that need it, which are then available for a negotiated donation to families in need. At the moment we are very short of white goods as well as pots and pans. We are always short of cookers and washers.”
Whilst open to all members of the public, the charity has recently experienced an increase in the number of families seeking support due to a number of factors, the current economic climate, changes in the benefits system, unemployment, financial struggles, housing and health issues. To meet this increase in demand the Charity has just opened its fourth showroom.
As well as providing a valuable community resource, CDFHS also operates a dedicated training programme – operated by volunteer Steve Mitton – to help people of all ages improve their employability and skills and eventually into fruitful future employment or volunteering.
Chris added: “Support from Durham County Council means that the reuse credits we receive for recycling goods has enabled us to deliver our expansion plans and to be a very active part of the local community.”