Funding shortage sees charity close

Revive Furniture at Cowley Road, Blyth is closing down-staff and volunteers (left to right-back four) Leonie Pedley, Graham Davidson, Linda McCormick, Ted Shale and (front) Colin Griffin.'REF 0907130025

Revive Furniture at Cowley Road, Blyth is closing down-staff and volunteers (left to right-back four) Leonie Pedley, Graham Davidson, Linda McCormick, Ted Shale and (front) Colin Griffin.'REF 0907130025

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A charity that supports residents with second hand furniture is closing down after ten years in operation.

Revive Furniture Project in Blyth will close on Wednesday, July 31, due to a lack of funding.

The charity provides residents in south east Northumberland on benefits or on a low income the opportunity to purchase second hand furniture at cheap prices.

It also has links with external agencies such as the Credit Union and Northumberland Women’s Aid to help service users get on their feet.

Trustee Paul Smart told the News Post Leader: “It is with great regret that the Trustees of Revive Enterprise made the decision to close the Revive Furniture Project, which has been operating for ten years from the Riverside Business Park.

“This has been a very reluctant and agonising decision as it has taken a lot of hard work to establish Revive.

“The problem is purely financial, despite everyone’s best efforts.

“We had really struggled financially as a charity during 2012, and had barely managed to make it through the year.

“In order to remain financially sustainable and less dependant on fundraising income, we reduced our working week from five days to four and cut the working hours of staff.

“The biggest problem we have faced this year, despite these cuts, is a 42 per cent reduction in the number of people using our services.

“This significantly reduces any income we receive from low cost sales to beneficiaries and also our ability to secure new funding and retain existing funding.

“All of our key indicators show that we are in decline and we know that funders are looking to invest in something that is growing rather than propping something up.”

Colin Griffin has stepped in to the role of interim manager from foreman driver in order to keep the project going in its final weeks.

He said: “There’s just overwhelming sadness from everyone.

“I had to step in and offer to run the place as I didn’t want to let anyone down.

“But now I am going to be out of a job for the first time in my life.

“There’s nothing like this place in the local area.

“People can come and furnish their home for around £200, and it’s really sad that it has come to this.”

Customers were shocked when learning of the news on Tuesday morning while vising the site on the industrial estate.

Janice Charlton, of Ashington, said: “They have helped us a great deal, and I am just so sad that it is closing.

“We have been coming here for about a year and they are just so friendly here.”

Mr Smart added: “It is very difficult to express our gratitude in mere words for all of our staff, volunteers and the fantastic support of local people to Revive over the years.”

“Hopefully we can celebrate the amount of people who have been helped and lives changed for the better.”