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Residents champion furniture recycling scheme

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A Poole-based furniture recycling scheme is helping disadvantaged residents set up a home and improve their day-to-day living, while at the same time reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfill.


Good-quality household items, such as beds, sofas, dining tables and kitchen equipment, are donated by members of the public or salvaged from Poole’s Household Waste Recycling Centre and delivered to residents who, due to varying circumstances, cannot afford to buy their own.


Members of staff from Borough of Poole and Poole Housing Partnership (PHP) set up the service after PHP Support Officers found they were dealing with a growing number of local clients who were facing financial difficulties. The team supports Poole residents who are at risk of homelessness, having suffered, amongst other things, domestic violence, mental illness, addiction, relationship breakdowns or redundancy.


Justyn Smith, 44, received support after a change in his family’s circumstances meant he needed to move from a one-bedroom flat to a three-bedroom house to accommodate his three young children. The team helped Justyn source several items, including beds, wardrobes, linen, a microwave, kettle, sofa, chairs and cooking equipment, which they were able to supply within just one week.


Justyn said: “Coming from a one-bedroom flat, I didn’t have much in the way of furniture, and because I’m on a limited income, I was worried about being able to provide for my children. The recycling scheme has literally been life changing. Thanks to everyone involved, we have a wonderful home and the kids are comfortable and happy. I’m very grateful for their help.”


PHP’s Sustain Team records requests for goods, then seeks donations, working with Borough of Poole’s New to You service, which gives reclaimed items a new home, to acquire and deliver the items as quickly as possible. The PHP scheme is provided entirely free of charge and relies on volunteer drivers to transport the goods from a storage facility to the clients’ homes.


Since the scheme started in 2014, the scheme has delivered…


  • 22 beds and mattresses
  • 22 sofas
  • 20 fridge freezers
  • 20 bedding sets
  • 16 wardrobes
  • 13 sets of curtains
  • 10 kitchen packs 


Demand for goods continues to grow, so the next step is to source a van which the team can use to deliver items more frequently.


Sustain Support Officer Helen Steel, who runs the scheme on a voluntary basis, said: “The scheme has been so successful that we’re getting to the point when we’re unable to deliver as frequently as we’d like. We’re appealing to any local businesses who might have access to a small transit van which they can donate to a very deserving cause. We would also love to hear from any volunteers who would like to support the scheme.”


Cllr John Rampton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environmental and Consumer Protection, Borough of Poole, said: “One of the principal aims of the New to You service is to support local people in difficult circumstances. It has been eye-opening to witness the amount of need in the area for essential items such as kitchen packs so we are pleased that we have been able to help residents improve the quality of their lives working in partnership with PHP and local charities.”


For more details about the furniture recycling scheme, or discuss donating a van, please contact Helen Steel or Elena Golozova on 01202 264313. You can also email the team.


Borough of Poole’s ‘New to You’ service was launched in 2015. Based at the Council’s Cabot Lane Depot, Cabot Lane, Poole, BH17 7BX, the shop is open to the public every Saturday between 10am and 2pm selling a wide range of goods from furniture to vintage items.

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