Exploring how to help needy

David Sheldon chief executive of Horsham Matters in the furniture store in Horsham
David Sheldon chief executive of Horsham Matters in the furniture store in Horsham
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HELP is available for people of all ages, background, race and religions from the church community in the Horsham district.

The County Times Helping Hand for Horsham Campaign, launched this week in partnership with The Salvation Army and Horsham Churches Together, will explore all the ways residents can find the help they need as Government cuts start to bite.

Our first edition focuses on the secondhand furniture provision run by Horsham Matters, set up by the Horsham churches.

In 2008 the churches combined several projects to produce what is now a thriving charity helping to people in various ways including selling furniture, crockery, toys and much more donated by people across the town.

In some cases, discounts are given to provide people in dire need with essentials to live happier lives.

Chief executive of Horsham Matters, David Sheldon, said: “After we opened in October 2009 we very rapidly grew as the generosity of the people of Horsham grew. It’s absolutely phenomenal what people donate.”

Horsham Matters community relations manager, Vida Lyne, is the first port of call for people needing help.

David explained: “Anybody who’s in need for whatever reason - we make it clear we don’t make any judgement about them or how they got into the situation they are in - Vida will meet with them and look at what they need.

“We can do anything from a coffee table to a double bed, or a saucepan to a fridge freezer.

“We have had people come to us who are being housed for the first time, young women who have been through abuse, old people struggling to make ends meet on a low income. We are not judging their age, race, sexual orientation, religion - anyone can come.

“We do always look to charge something, but we are happy to offer discounts for people who are real need. People are often referred to us by other organisations like social services or CAB.”

The charity shop on the former Tanfield Garage site in Guildford Road is very often milling with people picking up bargains and dropping off donations. David asked for everyone to think twice before throwing unwanted furniture in the tip.

“We always have a need for fridge freezers, fridges and washing machines, so before you chuck out you fridge, if it’s in a reasonable quality bring it in,” he said.

They have volunteers to carry out all the necessary tests to make sure all their items are fit to sell.

And contrary to rumours of their site at the former Tanfield Garage site closing, David said their future has been secured until the end of 2012.

“We were always uncertain about what our future was, but the new owner has given us a short term lease. We are not going anywhere.

“Now we know our future is secure we will be extending our opening hours from next week. We’ll be open 10am to 2pm and we are looking to increase that in the future step by step.”

To find out more about Horsham Matters for volunteering opportunities, to donate goods or to buy goods go to their shop and warehouse on Guildford Road, call 01403 217381 or go to www.horsham-matters.co.uk