CHRISTMAS arrived early this year to sort out a new couch for a former soldier, thanks to Santa’s little helpers at a housing association’s furniture recycling scheme.
John, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, has been working with charity Walking With the Wounded, which supports Armed Forces veterans and their families to regain their independence.
The charity’s Jill Darwent has been supporting John back into his feet, and to access the services he needs. She is a support care coordinator on the Northern Care Coordination Partnership (NCCP) project and works with veterans with complex needs, such as mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
She got in touch with Salix Homes’ furniture recycling team to see if they could help John replace some of his worn-out furniture.
“John doesn’t have a lot of money and the small amount of furniture he had in his accommodation, wasn’t in very good condition. He told me how he wanted a sofa, so he could relax in his home and maybe even watch some Christmas films and I knew I had to make his Christmas wish come true,” said Janine Hart, recycling coordinator at Salix Homes.
“We invited John and Jill to our warehouse to look through our donated furniture and household items. He was able to take home a sofa, some rugs, electric heater, kettle and clothes drier. As he was leaving, he gave me a hug which really showed how much it meant to him.”
Darwent added: “Since leaving the Armed Forces, John has had a difficult time and spent a period of this homeless. This is the first secure tenancy and home he has had in a very long time, so it was so nice to listen to him, watch him smiling and planning for his future. It may seem small steps to some people, but for him this is huge.
Since the recycling scheme launched in July 2019, it has been able to provide much-needed furniture and support to almost 50 tenants, Salix says. This includes people that have fallen on hard times, refugees and women escaping domestic violence.
“The recycling service that Salix Homes runs is an amazing scheme and I only wish other housing providers did the same,” Darwent said. “It enables people with nothing, to have the same as others and start to build a safe and happy home environment. This encourages stability and gives motivation to keep things nice.”
The scheme is only currently available for Salix Homes tenants.
Main Image: Salix Homes’ furniture recycling team.