Lack of 'need' finishes charity
CHEAPER High Street furniture and the demand for designer goods has put Ely charity, SOFA, out of business. Volunteers claim the changing climate has meant many people are not as needy as when the charity was launched 12 years ago and it has run its natu
CHEAPER High Street furniture and the demand for designer goods has put Ely charity, SOFA, out of business.
Volunteers claim the changing climate has meant many people are not as needy as when the charity was launched 12 years ago and it has "run its natural course".
It will close its doors at the end of October after struggling for months with little success to recruit new volunteers for the charity which takes donated furniture and sells it on.
Project manager Sherry Halls said, from the charity's base in Lynn Road:
"We used to have people coming in with absolutely nothing. But now all the youngsters want cream leather three piece suites and they are not prepared to just make do.
"The social climate has changed and it is easier to access cheaper new furniture. People don't seem to be as needy as they once were.
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"Maybe families are helping out a bit more and good luck to them. It is a lot easier to manage money and furniture is made to be disposable. We are not getting the quality furniture. Suites used to be made to last 20 years now they are made to last just five years.
"We still have some people who are desperately in need but we cannot afford to keep open for them."
The charity is paying a £7,000 a year rent bill, which is set to rise in March, and needs to replace its eight-year-old van.
"It's a constant battle and we feel that SOFA has run its natural course."
She and her nine workers thanked everyone who had supported the charity over the years.
"The last 12 years have been hard work but very satisfying for both staff and volunteers," added Sherry.
"The charity has kept running because of the goodness of people's hearts, coming in the freezing weather. Now we just want to say 'well done Ely.' We don't want this to be a sad time. We want it to be very positive.