Charity furniture project gets back to business

A CHARITY that takes donations of furniture and household items to sell at low cost or give to people in need, is reopening after suspending its work three months ago because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Woking Community Furniture Project (WCFP), based in a former glass factory in North Road, Maybury, closed its shops and stopped all collections and deliveries on 23 March.

Woking Community Furniture Project director Keith Rose

A charity, it provides people in the area with a cheap and easy way of disposing of unwanted furniture and other goods, while selling or giving these to those who need them.

Its two shops, in North Road and in Chapel Street in the town centre, reopened and donations were accepted again on Monday 29 June.

The project director, Keith Rose, said that three volunteers, half the usual number, are working in the main shop and taking collections and making deliveries.

“There will be social distancing in the shop with signs on the floor and Perspex screens to shield the volunteers,” he added.

“Collections and deliveries, with just two people in the van instead of usual three, will be made with the minimum of contact.

“The volunteers will socially distance from householders if they have to go into a home, will wear personal protective equipment and will use hand sanitisers between jobs.”

Donated furniture will be put in “quarantine” at the North Road premises for five days before it can be touched.

Keith said that enquiries from residents reduced during the lockdown, but had picked up considerably since announcements of the reopening on the WCFP website and on social media. “There is a lot of pent up demand,” he said.

The volunteers, many of whom have mental health problems or other difficulties, had been asking repeatedly when they could return. “The social contact is really important to the volunteers, especially now.

“When this started, I knew it would be helping people to donate and buy furniture but I didn’t realise what a boost it would be for the people working with us.”

The project began 30 years ago when families in five houses destroyed by fire needed new possessions and were provided with furniture and other items. It initially operated in a disused school and then an abandoned hospital, before buying its current site in 1996.

Before the lockdown, WCFP had plans to expand and improve its premises, which were built in the 19th century. These are on hold but the lockdown has allowed for the replacing of two doors, the installation of double glazing and new lighting.

“We have just received a grant for new flooring, so the lockdown has helped us to improve the fabric of the building significantly,” said Keith.

For more information on making a donation and the shop opening times, visit www.wokingcfp.org.uk or call 01483 750005.

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