North Staffordshire’s largest furniture reuse shop is marking three decades of supporting local communities.

Emmaus Furniture Mine has helped around 60,000 local people with more than 480,000 items since being formed 30 years ago.

The reuse shop was first set up by a group led by Rikki Twigg – who the first chair of the then called – Furniture Mine which was based at unused units at Chatterley Whitfield before moving to other locations throughout Stoke-on-Trent.

Rikki-Twigg
Rikki Twigg

Rikki says: “Thirty years ago, I was the minister at Moorland Road United Reformed Church in Burslem. That’s how I first got involved. There was a group of us and we got together to look at what could be done as local housing authorities were finding that quite often they were able to offer people who needed a home, a tenancy but they couldn’t move in because they had no furniture. Social services and probation services had clients who wanted to move into accommodation but couldn’t do it because they couldn’t afford furniture. It was a big problem.  We decided we needed a place locally to store unwanted donated furniture so that people who needed it most, could access it.”

Rikki along with several others set up the shop as a business and worked with other organisations providing volunteer and training opportunities. From there a referral system was set up with local housing associations.

Rikki adds: “We set up a referral system with local housing associations and other organisations to assess the needs of the person who was in need of furniture. People being helped then received the furniture from our store, free of charge. In the first three years we helped 2,153 households.”

Furniture Mine went on to new owners before, Emmaus Furniture Mine was acquired by charity Emmaus North Staffs in 2017, and is now based in Canon Place, Hanley where it has a downstairs shop and first floor warehouse. As well as providing quality furniture a massive 20,000 tonnes of furniture and household goods have been recycled in the last 30 years.

“Emmaus Furniture Mine has such significant roots and history in Stoke-on-Trent,” says John Webbe, shop manager and executive lead at Emmaus North Staffs.

“So many people have been supported in various ways and to hear Rikki’s story and how the shop first started all of those years ago is amazing. We have a huge space now and as well as our referral system our doors are also open to the public six days a week.

“Quality furniture and other household items can be donated and we really welcome anyone who can support us with this to get in touch – unwanted furniture for one family can mean the world to another and at the same time also helps towards the environment because we can recycle it instead of it going to landfill.”

emmaus-north-staffs-logoEmmaus North Staffs and Emmaus Furniture Mine work together to overcome homelessness and social inclusion and are part of Emmaus UK’s 29-strong community – which is also celebrating its own 30 year anniversary in 2021.

Various activities and events will be taking place throughout the next 12 months to mark the charity’s celebrations in Stoke-on-Trent.

A special series of stories about marking Furniture Mine’s 30th anniversary can be viewed on the Emmaus charity website – www.emmaus.org.uk/north-staffs/news

(Article by Baba Communications)

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