Now even greener

We have partnered with a local community benefit co-op to get solar panels on the roof of our Dorset Place building in Hastings.

Energise Sussex Coast is a community co-operative, working to tackle the climate crisis and energy injustice. They raised over £400k through a community share offer to install solar panels on community buildings in the area.

The panels roof will generate renewable energy to power HFS, giving us greener, cheaper electricity. Energise will pass any surplus electricity on to the grid to power other local homes and businesses.

This brilliant scheme means that local charities and schools are able to benefit from solar energy without investing huge sums to install the panels.

Our Hastings store has relocated to temporary premises in Priory Meadow for a few months while the Dorset Place building is being refurbished, so this is the perfect time to fit in the works necessary to fit the panels.

“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.

 

Job successes

Pete joined our team two months ago. He was made redundant over 12 months ago, after 25 years in the same job.

Volunteering showed that Pete preferred being active and working hard rather than staying at home, and proved he could adapt to a new workplace. Pete got a job after just a few weeks with us. He said that volunteering with us boosted his confidence and helped him over the final hurdle of getting a job.

Katie had been looking for work for 3 years before she joined us as a volunteer at the reception in our Priory Meadow store earlier this year. Getting back into work after taking time out to look after young children can be really hard, especially if you need work that will fit in around school hours and holidays.

Katie built up her confidence and worked with Angie to update her CV and fill in applications. Katie was ecstatic to get a job interview … then became extremely nervous. Practicing suitable answers that explained her relevant experience helped, and she was offered the job at her first interview.

Katie says “If it wasn’t for you guys I would not have got this perfect job, thank you so much”

Max started volunteering with us 3 months ago. He has been looking for a job in IT since he left college a year ago. Not having anything to do, Max had shut himself away at home and he was very quiet. He had become isolated and felt he had no confidence.

Max worked well with the team and started to gain confidence. He is a very intelligent, articulate young man. He has been offered a job with a local Council’s IT department. He says that if he hadn’t come to us to volunteer that he would still be stuck in his bedroom.

Read more about volunteering at hfs

making space

HFS has been asked to make use of an empty building in Western Road, Bexhill, while the owner looks for a long-term tenant.

The ground floor shop will offer music and films on a pay-what-you-feel basis, run by volunteers. We’re recruiting volunteers for this project at the moment; get in touch if you’d like to help out.

Upstairs will be pop-up workspace for local creatives. There are rooms for studios, offices and other spaces. There could also be exhibitions, open studios and other events.

This is a temporary project which we hope to use to prove there is a local need for permanent, affordable workspace for creative enterprises.

Read more about the project. 

 

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!

Work with HFS

Help our team deliver excellent, friendly, capable, professional services for our donors and customers.

You need a full, clean driving license, van-driving and lifting experience, and the ability to work alongside a diverse range of volunteers and trainees.

Job Title Collection & Delivery Driver

Hours Full-time, 37.5 hours a week from Tues-Sat

Salary £17,062 (£8.75 ph)

Contract Initially a 6-month fixed-term contract with possibility of extension.

Apply by 12 noon Tues 9th April 2019

More information and application form

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