Three years later, Homestore still provides good quality reused furniture at a third of the price of other second hand shops.
The circumstances of those buying furniture today are however noticeably different.
Increasing pressures for people living on low incomes
Changes in the welfare system, the rise of in-work poverty and numbers of people in temporary accomodation or the private rented sector all impact on the demand and need for access to affordable household goods.
Pressure on public services also reduces some of the referral routes into services like Homestore for those in need.
At the same time the public discourse around poverty has at times created signicant stigma for people living on low incomes.
Homestore and Quaker Social Action regularly review the social and economic situation, trying to find ways of adapting services to changes in need.
- Regular price reviews ensure they remain at a third of other second hand stores.
- Links with the London Credit Union, benevolent funds, and east London councils help people make their income, grants or emergency support funds stretch as far as possible.
- Ongoing relationships with as many referral agencies as possible ensure people unable to afford essential items like beds can access the service.
- Homestore works hard to bring in good quality furniture so that people coming to the project have the best possible shopping experience.
- Homestore will soon start opening for furniture sales one saturday per month from September so that people in work have more opportunities to access the service.
- Homestore staff and volunteers ensure people buying furniture are treated with respect and dignity.
Still helping people feel at ease in their homes
- 2,122 people were able to access a choice of essential, good quality furniture and new white goods at Homestore.
- 100% of customers surveyed would recommend Homestore to their friends and family.
- Affordable furniture meant that customers saved an estimated £196,161 against the cheapest alternative.
I moved to an entirely empty house, there were only walls. My stuff was packed in black bin bags so this new furniture has given me a chance to arrange my stuff and made life easy.
Feedback from a homestore customer