BROMSGROVE’S NewStarts – which provides free food, furniture and household supplies to people in need – has secured £110,000 of funding from Big Issue Invest.
The investment arm of The Big Issue is supporting the community eco-friendly re-use social enterprise which helps families and individuals across the district on low incomes or who have found themselves in financial crisis.
NewStarts began in 2006 when two Bromsgrovians – Andy Godwin and Margaret Richards – started collecting furniture for people coming out of hostels to help them as they progressed into their first homes. They then teamed up with NewSong Community Church to widen the reach of the project.
The activities of the project were built upon re-using household items and three years later, NewStarts became a company limited by guarantee and registered charity. In 2014, with the support of BII and Charity Bank, it bought the office building it was based in.
Today, the organisation empowers local individuals and families to overcome their challenges and achieve more in their lives.
It provides free assistance to over 1,000 households every year, delivering duvets to debt advice, beds to basic computer training, ironing boards to individual coaching and wardrobes to work placements and volunteering.
The NewStarts project has estimated that, in a year, around 190 tonnes of furniture has been saved from local landfill, equating to around 60 tonnes of CO2 emissions being saved. It also aims to provide between 300 to 500 homes a year with refurbished free furniture.
Marion Kenyon, NewStarts CEO, said: “It’s quite horrific that, even in this day and age, when we go to deliver furniture we’ve seen children sleeping on cardboard on the floor – you think this is Britain, this shouldn’t be happening. But it does happen.
“When it comes to furniture, many are forced to take on hire purchases with high interest rates, further widening the socio-economic divide.
“With NewStarts, you’re not only helping to prevent homelessness and poverty but also climate change, so there’s a real feel-good factor to it.”
Danyal Sattar, CEO of Big Issue Invest, said BII was pleased to be able to support NewStarts and its invaluable community work.
“Not only does it support the most vulnerable by ensuring they have access to essential items and food, but it also supports the sustainable practice of re-use.
“We hope we can support the organisation to go from strength to strength.”
To donate items, people can you can either drop them off at the depot Monday to Friday or arrange a collection with one of the NewStarts volunteers by calling 01527 882410.
All proceeds will go to the operation of food banks, computer recycling, and a newly found debt advice service.