3 November 2016 - 5:46pm
Our furniture reuse project in Dundee, which was set up to help people overcome homelessness, has opened its doors to the public.
Our homelessness service unit launched the project in 2014 as a way of offering volunteering opportunities and good quality furniture to men and women moving on from Strathmore Lodge and Burnside Mill lifehouses.
The showroom has been so successful that it has now opened to the public, with all profits going directly towards our homelessness work in Dundee.
Service manager Pamela Grant said: “This is an exciting time for The Salvation Army in Dundee. The ownership for the project comes from our homelessness centres so when people buy an item of furniture they are helping give our residents a better chance of moving into their own homes.
“The project has had fantastic support so far, and we are grateful to the Leng Trust and Mathew Trust for funding the project.”
Volunteer Coordinator Frank Mulgrew, said: “Since January 2014 we have helped 155 service users by providing furniture for their homes.
“Roughly 3700 volunteering hours have gone into the project and many of our former volunteers have gone on to employment. In one case we had a guy who was accepted onto a place at university.
“The feedback from volunteers is overwhelmingly positive, and most say it has helped them get back into the workplace because prospective employers have been impressed by their commitment to help others.
“The financial support we receive allows us to employ three part-time employees in myself, Jim Spoors and Jamie Barker, and we have our own van for collecting and delivering donated furniture.
“Any income we generate goes back into the homelessness work of The Salvation Army in Dundee. We are grateful to the support of our funders but our aim is to rely less on them and become self-sufficient.”
The furniture reuse project is open to the public every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 2pm. For more information or to donate furniture, call 01382 458573.
General assistant Jim Spoors is a former resident of Strathmore Lodge and Burnside Mill, having stayed at the centres between 2010 and 2012.
Jim, from Dundee, had been volunteering at the furniture reuse project for five years until landing his current role earlier this year.
He says The Salvation Army was there for him when he lost his job and home through depression. Now he is in his own flat and relishing helping others overcome many of the challenges he faced himself.
Jim said: “I started volunteering at the project during my second week at Strathmore Lodge and have been here since.
“When I moved into my own place, The Salvation Army helped furnish my house through the work I’d done here.
“On top of my general project duties, I also help supervise and manage volunteers and other staff members. It’s a big responsibility and I take a lot of confidence from the trust placed in me.
“It’s nice to be able to pass on my support to the volunteers. A lot of guys have real problems so to help them break the cycle of homelessness is rewarding. I love my job and I can see me doing this till I retire, if they still want me by then of course.”