A second-hand furniture charity could be forced to close its doors at the end of the month unless it can find cheaper premises.
Paradise Furniture, which redistributes donated furniture and white goods, pays in excess of £20,000 a year to rent its warehouse on the Paradise Industrial Estate off Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead.
But after a string of other charities launched similar services in the borough over the last year – including the British Heart Foundation, the YMCA and homelessness charity DENS in the town centre and Emmaus at Boxmoor, as well as the Hospice Of St Francis in Berkhamsted – there are not enough donations to go round and it is struggling to pay its way.
Community Action Dacorum, which oversees the long-running project, now believes that the Paradise scheme is no longer the best way to use its resources.
Chief executive Mark Mitchell said: “We’re exploring the options in order to be able to continue to stay open.
“There has been a reduction in sales and the impact of other charities in the town is something of a concern. We have provided a great social benefit over many years, but recognise we do not have the specialism in retail available to other charities who are now open in the town.”
Paradise warehouse manager Wendy Dove said: “ “If anyone knows of a building we can use, please let us know.
“We’ve been really struggling. We’ve been told to sell everything we’ve got left, so from now on we won’t be collecting any more furniture.”
The charity gives support to those on means tested benefits by offering a 50 per cent discount, and CAD is exploring how that help can still be extended to the poorest people in the borough.
It also works with 40 volunteers, many of whom have learning difficulties, who will no longer be able to help out if another site is not found.
Warehouse assistant Julie Richards said: “I want to be able to say to the volunteers: ‘You’ll be all right’ but I can’t, and that’s so upsetting.
“We want to let the people of Dacorum know that we went down fighting. It’s not because we don’t care or that we couldn’t be bothered.”
If you know of anywhere that would be suitable for Paradise Furniture, call Community Action Dacorum on 01442 253935