A new campaign has been launched in the UK to raise awareness for families facing furniture poverty.
The End Furniture Poverty campaign is run by the FRC Group, and was recently launched with the aim of identifying potential solutions and instigating large scale social change to tackle the problems of furniture poverty. Most furniture poverty in the UK is hidden; it’s hard to identify just how many families have to sleep on shared mattresses on the floor, store clothes in bin bags and make hot meals using a kettle as they have no access to a cooker. Often, disadvantaged or low-income families find themselves with huge amounts of debt, as they find that high-cost loans are their only option to afford the furniture they need.
The End Furniture Poverty organisation will launch several specific campaigns aimed at different groups. This first to be announced was the Furnishing Homes, Furnishing Lives campaign, which aims to increase pre-furnished accommodation available in the social housing sector. Currently, social housing tenants rarely get the opportunity to rent a furnished property; as a result, they often find themselves in one of the aforementioned situations – without furniture or in debt. Furnished accommodation would remove a financial burden for tenants, but would also have various benefits for landlords, who could provide more secure tenancies, generate income and improve hard to let properties. The project aims to work with the social housing sector, encouraging landlords to consider the scheme, promoting best practise and providing evidence to demonstrate that it can make a difference for vulnerable families.
The launch event was attended by various leaders and members of the social housing sector, as well as the keynote speaker, Reverend Richard Coles, who is a board member of Wellingborough Homes and has worked with a charity which helps to provide furniture for ex-offenders. He commented:
‘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. I would urge all housing associations to sign the pledge to end furniture poverty and commit yourselves to working together to make a difference to other people’s lives’.
Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Chair of FRC Group said:
‘Furniture poverty needs a voice. It is part [sic] larger problems of poverty and inequality but for too long it has been a hidden and fragmented issue. Furniture poverty is not only a problem in the social housing sector but leasers in our sector should be at the forefront of tackling this issue.’
Verity Timmins, Campaigns Manager added: ‘this problem needs to be more visible so that together we can tackle its causes and raise awareness of some practical solutions that exist.’
Here at Furniture Donation Network, we are committed to reducing furniture poverty for vulnerable families in the UK, who are often the most affected. We work with a range of charity collection partners across the UK to provide a free collection service, which can help to reduce resource poverty in the UK. If you have some old furniture, white goods or household items which you don’t need but are still in great condition, fill in our simple online form here and we will source a charity partner to collect your items. They may go to a charity shop, or be sold to low-income families at affordable prices.
Read more about the campaign at www.endfurniturepoverty.org.