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A new campaign has been launched in Essex to tackle furniture poverty which often hits the community’s most vulnerable people hardest.

It is a hidden issue which damages thousands of lives every year and now charity and social enterprise Tendring Reuse and Employment Enterprise (T.R.E.E.) is taking the initiative to make a difference.

The campaigning division of T.R.E.E. wants to raise awareness over the issue and to promote practical solutions for people living in all types of housing – social renters, private renters, and homeowners.

Mark Penn, CEO of T.R.E.E., which is based in Essex, said: “If you intervene in the right way at the right time, you can make a difference between a life that is liveable and one that is not.

“We urge all housing associations and Local Authorities to sign the pledge to end Furniture Poverty and commit themselves to working together to make a difference to people’s lives.”

Furniture Poverty arises when people either cannot afford to provide themselves with the essential furniture and appliances that are needed to make a house into a home; or when people have gone into unmanageable levels of debt to be able to purchase these items.

Unlike fuel poverty there is not a calculation of income levels and furniture costs that define Furniture Poverty.

“Furniture Poverty needs a voice,” added Mr Penn. “It is part of the larger problems of poverty and inequality but for too long it has been a hidden and fragmented issue.

“It is not only a problem in the social housing sector but leaders in our sector should be at the forefront of tackling this issue.

“Many low-income households experience Furniture Poverty or are only one ‘appliance breakdown’ away from Furniture Poverty.”

Mr Penn said that It is evident when people are trapped in temporary accommodation because they cannot afford basic items to be able to move into an unfurnished property; when a family cannot afford to replace a broken cooker or fridge; when children and parents are sharing a mattress on the floor for a bed and everyone’s clothes are stored in black bags.

Furniture Poverty is a hidden pressure on families across the UK in all housing tenures. This problem needs to be more visible so that together we can tackle its causes and raise awareness of some practical solutions that exist.

This is a really important issue and one which can often be overlooked,” said Mr Penn.

“We were delighted to be invited to the launch today and I look forward to working with partners across the Essex region to End Furniture Poverty, something which could transform the lives of the local community.”


Local Hero Awards

T.R.E.E. was proud to sponsor the Community Champion Award at this years Local Hero Awards with Dream 100 FM.  Watch the video for a taste of the gala event:

Dream 100 Local Hero Awards 2017 from TREE on Vimeo.


New Braintree outlet for low-cost household items now open!

East Street Community Warehouse Braintree

A new community facility has been opened in the heart of Braintree; offering quality pre-owned and discounted white goods and furniture to all.

The 4,000 sqft converted workshop and shop is owned by T.R.E. E. and enables people to access a range of sofas, dining room sets, beds, fridges, freezers, ovens, dishwashers and more at a low cost.

The project has been made possible through a £150,000 grant from Greenfields Community Housing and Braintree District Council to refurbish a disused former MOT testing station and subsidise affordable white goods and furniture for the whole community.

Mark Penn, CEO of T.R.E.E. said “I’m very pleased that we currently have a range of over 100 items for people to browse and purchase, and we hope to increase these through donations.  Our committed staff have cleaned, tested and refurbished items to a very high standard; with most looking almost new.  The project will generate employment for those overcoming significant barriers to work and also provide apprenticeship and work placement opportunities in the heart of the Braintree District.”

Sandra Crosby, Greenfields Housing Director, said: “I am pleased and proud that anyone can take advantage of the high quality and low cost items on offer. The fact that the facility also provides opportunities for volunteers and apprentices is great.”

Cllr Wendy Schmitt said: “This project is so important for the Braintree District because it’ll help people gain experience and skills leading to further work opportunities while at the same time helping our residents find great quality household goods at an affordable  price. It will also mean items are reused for the benefit of local people rather than taken to landfill sites.”

The workshop and shop is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 9.00am – 4:45pm.

13th Nov 2015

Archive:

Charity to invest £500k in High Street shop – January 2014

Charity takes on 3 new apprentices – April 2013