A treasure trove of affordable style
Ever wondered what a local furniture reuse showroom is really like? Family Information Service Outreach Officer, Sarah, went to see for herself - she dropped in at Furniturelink Guildford, and discovered an Aladdin’s Cave.
“Today I’m visiting Guildford’s best kept secret, Furniturelink, hidden away on a little known industrial estate. I’m met by an enthusiastic bunch of staff and volunteers who are keen to let me browse their eclectic mix of furniture and show me some of the fantastic up-cycling and refurbishment work they do.
"Furniturelink is one of a group of furniture recycling charities that make up the Surrey Reuse Network. Their aim is to supply affordable furniture for all, no matter what you want to use it for, as long as it’s not thrown away.
"I meet Natasha, a one time volunteer and now employee of Furniturelink. When she moved from inner London to Guildford, she found herself short of furniture to fill her new home and short of funds to buy any. After receiving a grant she was told about Furniturelink where she was able to buy a bed and mattress for her son’s room. Because she was claiming benefits at the time she was also able to get other essential items of furniture at a greatly reduced rate. Natasha loves the scheme so much that she offered her time helping them with their administrative work. She’s now employed by the charity and works with other volunteers and paid staff, equally as passionate about the scheme.
"While I’m there a young couple came in, looking to add to their retro style home. They’re just starting up together and want an affordable way to furnish their flat. With an eye for something individual but on a tight budget they buy a G Plan table to take away to restore.
"When a grandmother arrives at the showroom she’s given a warm welcome by the volunteers. She’s become a familiar face over the last few weeks as she lost everything in a house fire, and without insurance hasn’t been able to afford to replace her belongings. She moved to a new property but was short of money to be able to buy a dining table, so the team used their emergency funding to donate one to her.
"Another familiar face pays a visit, she’s been working with the volunteers to learn how to paint and decorate furniture and now does this as a hobby at home. She regularly checks Furniturelink’s Facebook page to see what’s new in and has spotted a Victorian chest of drawers she’s keen to buy.
"Furniturelink receives most of their furniture from private donations ranging from house clearance to individual pieces. Retailers who take away unwanted furniture when they deliver new also supply the charity. Broken pieces are repaired when possible, some pieces are restored, some are up-cycled and others pieces can be bought ‘as seen’. Then the charity tickets each piece with a bargain price.
"Hang on a second, I think I’ve spotted the perfect up-cycled chair for my living room!”
Surrey Reuse Network
Your local furniture reuse showroom is a great place to buy quality furniture and kitchen appliances at bargain prices. It has everything you need to furnish your home for less than you would pay on the high street – including sofas, dining sets, beds and children’s furniture.
The showrooms are run by local charities which together make up the Surrey Reuse Network (SRN). And between them, the charities cover the whole of the county – so there is a showroom nearby for everyone who wants to buy or donate.
Buying furniture from the SRN also means the network can support local families in need, and provide long-term unemployed and disadvantaged people in Surrey with volunteering and work placements.
For locations, to arrange a collection and more information about the SRN, call 0800 082 0180 or visit www.surreyreusenetwork.org.uk