Furniture re-use charities are helping people in crisis but can’t do it alone.
This is the message from the Furniture Re-use Network (FRN), the national charity which leads and supports over 300 re-use charities across the UK in response to today’s news from the Local Government association (LGA) about its call to Government to rethink its decision to scrap the £347 million Local Welfare Assistance fund.
FRN is in complete agreement with the LGA and its Chairman – Sir Merrick Cockell – about its concern that the withdrawal of Government funding for local emergency support schemes may leave some areas unable to afford to help out families in crisis.
Much of the charitable re-use sector has experienced a 100% increase in demand for essential household goods such as beds, clothing and food since April 2013, when a reduced funding pot and responsibility for helping people in crisis was passed to local authorities. Many are unable to meet this demand, particularly if the local authority isn’t working with the re-use sector in their area.
“Some of our members are working with and supporting their local authorities in different ways with some really innovative and collaborative schemes to help people in crisis, and are providing enormous value for money with goods and services, but this is only possible with State funding”, says Helen Middleton, FRN’s spokesperson on the fund and broader welfare issues.
“Our members exist to alleviate material poverty and to help people in crisis with the provision of essential household goods and have been asked by some local authorities to expand the range of support into debt advice, clothing and food – this could not continue without financial support from the Local Welfare Assistance Fund”.
FRN is concerned about the impact this policy decision will have on people in need, and will be addressing this issue at its forthcoming annual conference for members in March 2014, at which Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will be asked about DCLG’s plans for helping people in crisis post-April 2015 should this Government policy decision stand.
Tel: 07726 358243