FURNITURE Now!, the Lewes-based re-use, recycling and training charity, reached a significant milestone on Friday.
It celebrated 18 years of community enterprise in the Lewes, Wealden and Eastbourne areas with local MPs Norman Baker and Charles Hendry in attendance.
The party was opened by Cllr Ruth O’Keefe, Deputy Chair of Lewes District Council, and Furniture Now! welcomed its new patron, journalist and broadcaster Polly Toynbee.
Rik Child, Director of Furniture Now! said: “We are delighted to be celebrating our 18th birthday. It is really exciting to bring the community together to celebrate the work of the charity over the last 18 years.
“In this time, we estimate we have helped 60,000 households, therefore benefiting approximately 150,000 people. Approximately 140,000 items of furniture have found new homes.”
He added: “The charity trains 80 to 100 volunteers each year who give a remarkable amount of their time to help the customers get the items they want, measure it up, buy it and even help deliver it into people’s homes. This is how we provide such low cost items.”
Mr Child continued: “This year marks Furniture Now!’s coming of age. In a climate of considerable change, the charity is opening shops in Hailsham and Portslade, and is developing a computer refurbishment and recycling business under the banner, Computer Now! and of course we will continue to work with as many trainees as possible.
“This year we have run long and short courses for 120 separate learners who were isolated and unemployed. More than half have progressed to accredited courses and are now seeking employment.”
Polly Toynbee, author of Hard Work: Life in Low Paid Britain, writes for The Guardian and has long been recognised as an advocate for social justice and a fairer society.