Furniture charity for Northampton people living in poverty handed £250,000 cash boost

MP for Northampton North Michael Ellis cutting the ribbon at Spencer Contact on Friday (March 9).
MP for Northampton North Michael Ellis cutting the ribbon at Spencer Contact on Friday (March 9).

A second-hand furniture warehouse, which used to operate from a small garage behind a church, has extended it's premises after a £250,000 donation.

Spencer Contact was started by Elim Road Church 20 years ago where volunteers would deliver second-hand furniture, by a trailer, to people living in poverty in their parish.

The MP, who has recently been named as libraries minister, spoke with The Men's Shed Group who have a workshop on site.

The MP, who has recently been named as libraries minister, spoke with The Men's Shed Group who have a workshop on site.

The re-use charity, which has grown from a storage site in a garage behind the church, has now grown to a large warehouse in Gladstone Close where workers distribute furniture to thousands of destitute people in this town every year.

Now the charity, which has been based on site for ten years, has received a £250,000 cash injection from fundraisers to expand the premises as part of their 20th birthday.

Since the extension, the charity now houses The Northampton Door to Door Service and Northampton Men’s Sheds, who will in turn help to fund the Spencer Contact building by renting office space.

Hugh Jones general manager of Spencer Contact welcomed invited MP for Northampton North Michael Ellis onto the site to officially open the extended site on Friday (March 9).

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Hugh said: "People we help are going through all kinds of crisis, family breakdowns, they have been homeless, we deal with people coming out of prison.

"We get lots of referrals from lots of other charities, like social services and women's refuges and it’s really to make their new property into a home for them."

Workers at the site say they collect anything from a can opener to a wardrobe, which will be repaired and cleaned on site before they are re-distributed.

Trustee of the charity Phil Stiles also volunteers for the charity. He said: "I came out a couple of years ago delivering in one of the vans to a lady who just got her first floor flat and all she had was black sacks. We equipped her with all the necessary furniture she required."

The Men's Shed workshop in Gladstone Close.

The Men's Shed workshop in Gladstone Close.

Esther Scarsbrook administrator added: "It does not have to be an extreme need that you are in, you could just have a temporary need.

"It's a big deal for someone to ring up and say they are struggling, and if they are, we will help."

The general public can drop their unwanted things off, excluding white goods, by driving up to the shutters on site and buzzing the bell.

The charity is open between 9.30am and 4.30pm Monday - Friday.

The warehouse plays host to thousands of items for people in poverty.

The warehouse plays host to thousands of items for people in poverty.