Twenty years of furniture recycling in Shrewsbury

I was delighted to be able to attend the celebration of the twentieth year of operation of the Shrewsbury Furniture Scheme today.

The Monkmoor-based charity - also known as Home Essentials, is a local volunteer run community project which started in April 1994, in premises off Whitchurch Road, Harlescott.

Initially the volunteers got together seeking to fill the gap caused by the closing of the Womens Royal Voluntary Service and they were really helped to get started by the generosity of local business Furrows Ltd. who lent them a building for next to nothing and also generous donations from Shrewsbury Rotary Club.   The Council helped by lending them a white van and fueling it and within weeks purely through word of mouth and the sheer generosity of local people, they were absolutely inundated with items from beds to cots and blankets, cookers, washing machines, crockery, cutlery and more.

Volunteers came from what was the old YTS scheme and young offenders through to retired local people who just wanted to help reduce poverty and waste in Shrewsbury and within the first year they helped nearly 300 people to furnish their homes.

Twenty years on they now service over 1,000 customers a year - many of who are in dire straights, driven from their homes by fire, abuse, or financial hardship, the furniture scheme is their to help them back on their feet with basic household essentials like a bed or a microwave.

Popping inside their warehouse - its like Aladdin's Cave inside - is simultaneously both a shocking and inspiring experience.  I was staggered that all of these items have been thrown out by someone when they're all perfectly good stuff but it's amazing to think that all of it (almost eighty tonnes every year) has been rescued from landfill and will be distributed out to people in Shrewsbury.

Lets hope they continue to go from strength-to-strength for the next twenty years and more.   If you want to help out donating unwanted furniture and electrical items, or volunteering time to help then visit for more information.


James Thompson James Thompson

Waste Prevention Officer, Waste Management, Shropshire Council

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