Changing buying habits mean a Newhaven charity collecting and reselling donated furniture needs more volunteers and mattresses to meet demand.
Newhaven-based Age UK East Sussex Furniture Warehouse is seeking staff and furniture in its bid to raise money for services for older people.
Commercial director Richard Scott-Clark said: “Second-hand is no longer seen as second best. Everyone is coming to buy. People come in and say ‘Wow is this really donated?’”
“I can’t thank people enough for the volume and quality of donations. We are struggling to keep up with the donations as we are a van driver down.”
The furniture charity, with shops in Avis Way and the Old Shipyard in Robinson Road, offers a free de-clutter service.
It collects furniture, white goods, home wares, electrical goods, anything but sofas without a fire safety label.
Mr Scott-Clark said: “Donations and demand come in waves. Right now we are getting a lot of sofas and tables but are desperate for mattresses.”
Mr Scott-Clark continued: “Our donors like giving items away knowing someone will get to use it and the sale will help provide services for local older people.”
The work is done by nine paid staff, eight of whom began as volunteers, with help from a team of volunteers who are long-term unemployed.
Relief manager Angela Oatridge, 53, of Evelyn Road, Lewes, began as a volunteer at Furniture Warehouse when she was made redundant.
Mrs Oatridge said: “When you are made redundant or unemployed you feel written off.
“Volunteering gives you your confidence back. I have absolutely loved it. I was made so welcome.”
As well as enjoying the friendly staff and customers Mrs Oatridge said she felt excited each time she opened a box.
She said: “I never know what I will find, smelly socks or a piece of jewellery.
“We get some lovely things. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Between February and December 2013 the shipyard site gave 80 unemployed people work experience and training that helped 20 of them into paid employment.
Drivers and volunteers interested in retail, customer service and furniture who can offer at least half a day a week can call Nick.
He can be contacted on 01273 646800. This is also the number for donors needing a collection.
Nick said Furniture Warehouse receives donations for every taste and budget.
The team even received a brand-new SMEG fridge which did not fit the donor’s new house.
If it does not have what you need it will take your name and let you know if an item comes in.
If you would like to find out more about the furniture in stock and the charity’s work visit its Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/NewhavenFurnitureWarehouse andwww.ageuk.org.uk/eastsussex/