We have stores selling good quality used furniture and electrical goods in Norwich, Dereham and Holt, and a Reuse shop in Ipswich. Our stores generate profits to help fund our charity while providing helpful services for the community.
Our very first furniture store was established in Holt thirteen years ago, followed by stores in Dereham in 2010 and Norwich in February 2013. Ipswich Reuse Shop, on the Foxhall Recycling Centre was opened in partnership with FCC Environment and Suffolk County Council in 2016 and provides a valuable service to people in Suffolk.
Our charity’s Founder, Richard Draper explains: “From the opening of Winston Court in North Walsham, our very first centre for homeless young people, kind people offered furniture etc to help with furnishing move-on accommodation. It started as a very small scale venture with my youngest daughter Esther and I going off in The Benjamin Foundation’s somewhat old Transit minibus to collect it and bring it back for storing in our barns at home. Eventually we got the funding to establish Winston Court as the vibrant high quality service it is today.”
Richard continues: “Saving tons of furniture from landfill it could so readily be a charity in its own right. It brings a considerable amount of funds into the other charitable activities of The Benjamin Foundation, and still helps lots of people with great quality furniture.”
Paul Sinclair, Manager of our Dereham Furniture Store explains more: “We offer a wide range of good quality used furniture and household goods to people who are shopping on a budget.”
“We’re encouraging more people to visit their local Benjamin Foundation store and our Ipswich Reuse shop, or donate items that they no longer require. By doing so, you’re supporting the reuse initiative and you will be helping our charity to support local children, young people and families who are going through tough times.”
Part of our work is preventing local youth homelessness. We’re helping young people like James* who, aged 17, is living at one of our accommodation centres in Suffolk for vulnerable young people. He has lived there since September 2018 following a breakdown in family relationships. It’s been a difficult time for him but living at our accommodation centre, which is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, has given him some much-needed stability and the support of our team is helping him to take the next, positive step in his progression towards independence.
In the 25 years since The Benjamin Foundation began, there has started to be a change in attitude and awareness when it comes to social and environmental issues such as climate change, social exclusion and cutting down on waste, with many people wanting to ‘do their bit’ to help others and consider the impact on future generations. Not only do our furniture stores and reuse shop support our work in Norfolk and Suffolk, but they provide people with a way of passing on furniture and household goods in a sustainable way, which helps to reduce waste and landfill. However, with 10 million household items being sent to landfill every year (source: Reuse Network), there’s still more than can be done.
We’re proud to be part of the Reuse Network – a national scheme which supports local members to help their own communities and we can even support families who are experiencing crisis and hardship.
In addition, Nick Spencer from The Rocky Crystal Interiors in Dereham has been supporting us this year to inspire others about reuse by holding Annie Sloan chalk paint demonstrations in-store and on our stand at the 2019 Norfolk Show, transforming pieces of furniture and giving them a new lease of life.
Paul continues “We always encourage people to pop in and see what’s available to reuse, recycle or refurbish. Not only does stock change regularly as we collect donations of used furniture from across the area – but we also sell new beds and white goods, and quite often have unusual and quirky items too.”
We’re always looking for good quality donations and accept the following items: Furniture; Sofas; Suites; Armchairs; Tables and chairs; Coffee tables; Sideboards; Dressers; Chests of drawers; Wardrobes; Beds, bunk-bed & sofa beds; Electricals (must have CE mark); Washing machines; Fridges; Freezers; Flat screen TVs.
Please note – Ipswich Reuse Shop accepts donations from Household Waste Recycling Centres in Suffolk and sells slightly different items to our Norfolk Furniture Stores. For more information, contact the shop directly on 01473 610322.
If you have a good quality item you would like to donate or are looking to support the reuse initiative by purchasing good quality used furniture, please contact or locate your nearest store.
*Name has been changed.