Being both environmentally friendly and assisting people back into employment has made Adur Furniture Network a valuable community asset.
As it celebrates its 20th anniversary, the business has been more in demand than ever at its base within a former school room of StMary’s Church, Shoreham.
Its prime aim remains helping people who are vulnerable and have been long-term unemployed in providing work experience selling a wide range of second-hand furnishings.
Generous residents have donated everything from an antique wardrobe believed to have been on the set of Harry Potter, to picture frames and a host of other domestic items.
The charity’s chairman Jesse Carr-Martindale, an experienced TV scriptwriter, explained his involvement in the enterprise for the past five years has been extremely rewarding.
Having filmed the centre with a BBC documentary series “In Grand Style”, in which young couples attempted to furnish their first homes with a limited budget, he was invited to get involved.
While he felt it has been something of a challenge in never knowing quite what is going to come their way, he believed it had been greatly enjoyable watching volunteers gain in confidence. “In the 20 years this has been running it has helped hundreds of people with work, so it’s rewarding being part of it,” said Jess.
He added: “In these tough times, something like this has gone on for all this time is really good. I think it gives people a feel-good factor to donate things here. It’s a strange business in that we are not really able to plan stock as we’re entirely dependent on what people bring in.
“It’s also been good in terms of the recycling that’s been done through the resale of furniture. We worked out that we’ve saved around 44 cubic tonnes from ending up in landfill sites, which is great.”
His wife Jacquie-Ann, who is an actress, shared his enthusiasm for the furniture network and has enjoyed assisting with it. In addition to offering work experience, she said that they have also been able to provide counselling assistance to a number of the clients who work with them.
She said: “It’s been brilliant being here, we’ve had people who have come to work here in the past who have come up to us in the street and saying working here has literally saved their lives. It’s great to know that you can do that for someone – we are all about giving second chances.” On February 9, it is holding a furniture giveaway at Shoreham Farmers’ market.