The SVP founder Fredric Ozanam started his first conference in 1833, having been challenged how his faith was relevant against the stark misery of the lives of the poor in Paris. He established an organisation driven by social conscience and based on friendship and acts of kindness.
Today the SVP is a multi-faceted organisation that helps those in need in a range of ways. One such form of help is through the Sheffield Furniture Store, established 33 years ago and proud of helping over 10,000 people in that time.
On a practical level the Furniture Store collects and then distributes recycled furniture and household items to vulnerable individuals and families in crisis. It only accepts referrals from registered agencies, many of which are voluntary and charitable organisations.
For a snapshot of the work carried out the following statistics tell their own story for 2018:
The store made 915 deliveries across the city of Sheffield which equated to 6385 household items and helped benefit 1990 people.
The store also recycled a huge 130 tonnes of household furniture.
A key point to note about the furniture store is that it is self-financing – reliant on grants and the generosity of sponsors and donors. In addition, whilst there are a few necessary paid posts, the input from volunteers, which was 5678 hours last year, enables the store to run cost- effectively.
The SVP Furniture Store exemplifies the social conscience that motivated Frederic. Today its beneficiaries include people who suffer from physical and domestic abuse, are statutory homeless, experiencing financial hardship, as well as those discharged from care but need support in reintegrating into society.
The impact of the work of the Furniture Store goes far beyond practical provision. It is the catalyst for an improvement in people’s lives. Having those household items that most of us take for granted has enabled many to benefit from improved mental health, relieve stress, improve confidence and in many cases rebuild their lives. The knock-on effects mean people getting back into work, relieving the pressure on the NHS and the referring agencies and supporting happier family units.
By recycling household items the Furniture Store is also having a positive effect on the environment through reducing landfill and ensuring goods are redirected for continued use.
The Furniture Store is an important element of the work of the SVP in Hallam. It is a facility that really does follow the mission to make a difference to people’s lives. As the Furniture Store manager, Mike Healy says, “Our impact is more than just delivering furniture!”
If you think you can make a donation of furniture or household items or are interested in volunteering, please contact the store on 0114 270 3990 or, if you would like to find out more about the SVP in Hallam, please email Lance Philpott – SVP Membership Development Officer for Hallam on firstname.lastname@example.org.