“A truly inspiring organisation”

Hastings MP Sally-Ann Hart visited HFS to find out more about furniture poverty on Saturday 11th January.

As we showed her around our Hastings store, we talked about how important it is for people’s dignity and independence to have a choice of affordable furniture and white goods, how providing furniture helps people recover from crises like domestic violence, homelessness or a home fire, and outlined our partnership work furnishing homes for resettling households.

We explained how the loss of LWA (Local Welfare Assistance) funds from the Government had removed the safety net for people setting up or maintaining homes after crisis.

Hastings MP finds out about furniture poverty at HFS

Sally-Ann says “ HFS is a truly inspiring organisation!”

“It was great to hear from the staff about the work they are doing to help the lowest paid, but also support those individuals currently out of work by getting them the training and skills they need to gain employment.”

“I will be advocating for improved early intervention and prevention services, particularly for children, young people and families. Early intervention can prevent further problems from developing. As it is more effective to provide early help when problems first arise than to intervene later, we need to focus more closely on early intervention holistically, looking at the wider needs of an individual or family. This might require more funding initially, but will save money in the long term. More importantly, successful early intervention will give our local residents the best chance of thriving.”

no-one should be without a bed

The stylish modernist lobby of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill is adorned with a striking upcycled Christmas tree this Winter. Bearing the message “no-one should be without a comfy bed”, the bedslat tree is the work of local charity Hastings & Rother Furniture Service.

The plinth doubles as a collecting pot for donations to help the charity provide essential furniture for local families in desperate need.

“We’ve seen families that have had to pile old cardboard on the floor for their kids to sleep on, and been really proud to deliver affordable reused beds for them.” says Pea Crabtree, the creative behind the tree and a full-time worker for HFS.

Pea Crabtree

The tree is made from broken and bowed bed-slats we can’t reuse. We hope it will make people think about how furniture poverty affects families in our area. No-one should be without something as crucial as a bed.

In recent years the government has slashed funding for Local Welfare Assistance schemes. In East Sussex, support to help families in crisis set up home fell from £1.2m in 2013 to £166,000 in 2018. This drastic cut (over 86%) means charities like HFS are no longer funded to provide furniture for people in crisis, such as families moving on from temporary accommodation, Refuges or homelessness.

The report published this week by Sussex Community Foundation underlines the need for services like these. The report, Sussex Uncovered, says 37,000 children in Sussex are living in poverty and reports massive increases in homelessness in Hastings and Rother.

We hope people will donate to help HFS meet the needs of people in our community. Please pop a donation in to the tree at DLWP, into your local HFS store, and please think of us if you are replacing furniture or electricals at home. We provide a free collection service for good, reusable home items throughout Hastings and Rother.

No-one should be without a bed.

Make a donation

Everyone deserves

If your home already has enough furniture, could you sponsor a sofa for a home that needs one? 

The Government has stopped funding essential furniture for people who have been homeless, suffered domestic violence or a crisis such as a fire. Some families that are destitute can get small charity grants towards starting a home, others simply have to go without.

We’re asking people to help fund essential furniture for local households in need. If you can help, please click and donate.

 

Pop Up

We’re excited to announce that HFS Hastings will be relocating to the Priory Meadow shopping centre temporarily.

The pop-up store will give us a chance to reach more people and reuse even more furniture.

It will also enable us to redecorate our full-time premises in Dorset Place. We haven’t seen most of the walls or floor since we moved in after our re-build in 2007, so we can’t wait to give it a lick of paint!

The pop-up is on a rent-free “meanwhile” basis, while the landlord looks for a new paying tenant. We are moving on Tues and Weds (21-22 May). Hastings store will be closed on Weds 22nd.

The new store will open at lunchtime on Thurs 23rd May

Open   Tues-Sat 9.30-4.30

Phone   01424 44 11 12

Address   SU2 (former Top Shop) Priory Meadow  Hastings  TN34 1PH

 

Meeting the friendlies

We loved meeting The Friendlies last month.

Debbie visited the group at St Matthews Church in St Leonards and gave a talk about our charity.

Debbie says “It was a real pleasure to talk to The Friendlies, they were such an interesting and interested group of people.”

Would your group like a talk? Get in touch!

Vintage Fair

We have a stall full of vintage finds from our stores at the Age UK vintage fair in Bexhill this Saturday 18th May – do pop along and say hello if you’re there!

The Vintage Spring Fair has been organised to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Age UK East Sussex.

It’s a free-to-enter family fun day expected to attract 8,000 local people. There will be lots of stalls and activities to enjoy, as well as information and opportunities to work together as a community to help support our vulnerable, older neighbours who may be at risk of isolation, loneliness and poverty.

WoW van

Our Workshop on Wheels (WoW van) will be back out on the road in the Spring, ready to offer free skills sessions to local community groups, thanks to a generous donation from the Mason Charitable Foundation.

The van is equipped with workbenches and tools so we can provide short workshops anywhere in Hastings and Rother.

We have helped community groups undertake their own projects such as restoring benches in a community garden, making raised beds or decorating.

We can also provide a short course for members of your community group. The Oasis Community Project based at Ore Community Centre, for example, used their time with the WoW van to learn furniture restoration.

Visit the WoW van page.

Interested in booking a WoW van visit for your group? Get in touch with Angie Lowe at angie@hfs.org.uk to find out more about what’s on offer.

Not all

We couldn’t collect, reuse and deliver over 300 tonnes of furniture and electrical goods every year without our team of amazing volunteers like Dan.

Dan is volunteering at HFS Bexhill while he is looking for work.

Store Manager Gerald says “Since he started volunteering, Dan has gained the experience and confidence to play a full part in the team. He’s a real asset for us, helping out with collections and deliveries, and also helping in the store. It’s great to see people like Dan join us and develop their skills so they can move on into work.”

Be like Dan! If you can spare a few hours, we need more volunteers at both stores most days, including Saturdays. Find out more about volunteering here.

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