Dear Newton News
I’m just writing this to let other Newtonians know that the County Durham Furniture Help Scheme (CDFHS) doesn’t always accept ‘used’ furniture. Knowing that we were getting delivery of a new sofa this week, my husband and I telephoned various charities to see if they wanted our old one, a three-seater sofa, armchair and footstool.
In fairly good condition, but obviously not that wonderful – otherwise we wouldn’t have had to get a new one! Anyway, for various reasons none of the charity shops wanted them, so we drove to Chilton after seeing the write up in the Newton News about CDFHS.
In that article, they had said that they are employing people to ‘renovate’ used furniture. Now, we have waited in most of the day, they gave us the times between 9.00am and 2.00pm. Two men duly arrived at 1.50pm, only to look at our suite and claim that the spring had gone in the sofa – it hadn’t, it had been replaced at the princely sum of £2 a while ago by my husband – so they wouldn’t accept it, saying that they couldn’t mend springs.
This I find hard to believe, after all, the suite was perfectly sound except for a bit of wear on the cover of one end of the sofa. I’m sure that someone in need would have been able to make good use of it with perhaps the addition of a ‘throw’ to cover any small defect.
My husband is now in the process of cutting the whole thing up to take to the dump. We’re quite disgusted that they didn’t make this clear when we offered the donation. All I can say is that it was the first – and last – time we will donate anything to this organisation.
Mrs Jill Stevens
Marshall Road

Reply from the Furniture Scheme

Our driver and one operative went in to the home in Marshall Road, the metal spring was protruding outside the seat cushion and clearly would be a hazard in any home if it was re-used.
Our crew man explained this to the customer politely (he is one of our long servers) and we had sadly to decline the offered furniture donation. We have refurbishment facilities as the correspondent stated, but not one to cover this arising. CDFHS is growing and we are striving to raise our standards beyond any previous reputation to benefit the hundreds a week visiting or donating happily to us.
We do have to say ‘no’ to donations on occasion and we find that this is not good news to a well-intentioned donor. If we tried to pass on this item, our issue would then revolve around another complaint in another home elsewhere in the county. Worse still it could be a Trading Standard or hazard issue.
CDFHS is fully committed to providing the best possible goods for clients in disadvantaged or economically demanding times. We must comply with legislation and the County Durham Furniture Forum MOU. We would refer potential donors to look up
I trust this clarifies and informs a little in respect of re-use, I will be more than happy to visit the couple concerned to explain.
Steven Mitton
Chief Executive Officer