During national Recycle Week (21 – 27 September 2020), companion Dean (pictured left in the photo above) is calling on local people to donate and “recycle” unwanted items of furniture in order to help more vulnerable people change their lives for the better.
Each year, our Coventry-based homelessness charity ensures that around 6,700 pieces of furniture, worth more than £120,000 a year, including wardrobes, beds and three-piece suites, are saved from the rubbish tip. Instead, we offer a free collection service for large items in good condition. The collected goods are then sold in our specialist second-hand furniture shop on Red Lane, to help fund the charity’s work.
Dean was homeless and living in a tent by a brook before Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire gave him a place to live and the support he needed to continue to turn his life around.
Dean became homeless after spending four years caring for his mother: “My life was once very good. I had a great job as a chef but had to give it up to look after mum when she became ill. After she died I couldn’t pay the rent and so found myself on the streets. For almost 18 months I slept in a tent near where I used to live. It was the cold temperatures that really got to me. Each day seemed like it lasted a fortnight. I didn’t see or talk to anybody because I was tucked away in a woodland. Some people might think it sounded like an adventure but when it’s below zero outside, and you’ve got a long beard full of ice, it’s not fun.”
Emmaus gave Dean a home, meaningful work and support: “Emmaus is brilliant – it’s like a stepping stone to get back into reality. I’ve got my own room and a reason to get out of bed each morning. Emmaus has given me back the confidence that seemed to slip away when I was homeless. My sense of pride has returned as well; I always used to be a smartly dressed person and now I feel like myself again. Emmaus has given me my life back and I’m incredibly thankful.”
Dean is now calling on local people to help: “We’re asking people to take a look around their house, shed, loft and garage – if they have any quality furniture they don’t need, they can call us to book a free collection from their home.”
Speaking about the plea, Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire’s Community Director Geraldine Tsakirakis said: “We’re proud to think that by offering our free collection service we’re doing our bit to encourage people to think more about recycling and helping the environment. It’s a great alternative to having to take your unwanted furniture to the tip. We hope that our local community will pull together to help Emmaus make a difference – everything sold in the new shop will raise money to help us change the lives of formerly homeless people like Dean.”