Recycling Project Brings Low Cost Furniture to District

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A pioneering non-profit furniture recycling project was launched by Epping Forest District Councillors recently. Based in Waltham Abbey, the Lighthouse Project will collect good quality clean furniture and household appliances from across the district. Residents on low income or on the lookout for a bargain will then be able to buy the recycled goods at low prices. Councillor Ms Syd Stavrou Portfolio Holder for Community Wellbeing and Councillor Mrs Janet Whitehouse, Vice Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, officially declared the new service open at the launch of the project in Waltham Abbey on Wednesday 21 February 2007.

Image of Ben Carman, Paul Sanders, Councillor Ms Syd Stavrou and Councillor Mrs Janet WhitehouseThe development of the new outlet at Epping Forest District Council`s depot in Town Mead, Waltham Abbey is an extension of the project from its main base in Brentwood. Brian Darwood, Project Manager for Lighthouse said: Our main aim is to help people on low incomes who struggle to afford shop prices. We collect a range of household goods people no longer want. Everything from electrical appliances like TVs, fridges, cookers and washing machines, all of which are tested before being resold, to beds tables, chairs, wardrobes and cabinets.

He continued: The benefits are many. Whether you are a young person setting up home for the first time or an older person living on a pension, we can help with all the basic necessities. We are also providing a valuable service for people who have household goods they no longer need. You might be downsizing to a smaller property and need to dispose of some furniture or you might have bought a new flat-panel TV and no longer need your old one. Many of the goods we take would otherwise end up in landfill, or worse fly-tipping. Taking these goods and recycling them with new owners benefits everyone.

Image of Paul Sanders, Margaret Murray, Ben Carman, Councillor Ms Syd Stavrou, Councillor Mrs Janet Whitehouse, Jacqui Foile, Sarah Norton and Nick Taylor

The scheme is funded via a grant from the Big Lottery Fund Community Recycling and Economic Development (CRED) Programme.

The new outlet is based at Epping Forest District Council`s Town Mead depot. Councillor Mrs Janet Whitehouse was concerned to see good furniture waiting to be collected by refuse collectors and asked the Council to investigate ways of recycling unwanted goods. In conjunction with Voluntary Action Epping Forest, council officers then learned of the work Lighthouse was doing in Brentwood. Councillor Ms Syd Stavrou was then instrumental in the development of the local service.

Councillor Stavrou said: Councillor Whitehouse and I were absolutely delighted to launch the project. I cannot understand why we have to live in a throw-away society when people struggle to afford even basic items such as a settee or chairs. I have been amazed by the high quality of the items Lighthouse are able to recycle for new owners and want to congratulate everyone involved.

The project has also provided a further spin-off benefit. There is a constant need for volunteers to collect and deliver goods as well as administering the warehouses. Jacqui Foile, Chief Officer of Voluntary Action Epping Forest said: Voluntary work for Lighthouse is an excellent way for unemployed people to hone their skills in preparation for getting a new job. Like many organisations, Lighthouse needs people who can spare some time and energy, but in return you can gain invaluable experience. It is a great bonus to add to your CV.

Lighthouse Furniture Project Ltd logoThe Lighthouse Project operates locally with the assistance of Voluntary Action Epping Forest and welcomes volunteers. It operates vans that not only collect household goods but will also deliver to new owners. Some discounts are available to people on means tested benefits. Currently viewing is by appointment on Wednesdays.