A CHARITY which helps families struggling with poverty to be able to furnish their homes has been nominated for a Wiltshire Community Pride Award.

Waste Not Want Not collects unwanted furniture and household items in good condition and sells them at affordable prices to low income families from its showroom in Hungerdown Lane, Chippenham. At its simplest level it is just a furniture shop - but it does far more than that.

“We give people the opportunity to have a bit of dignity in buying furniture at a price they can afford that makes their home look nice. It gives them some self-respect,” said Jason Hale.

He has been involved with the charity for 16 years, first as a volunteer but then as one of the charity’s two paid members of staff. In his role as collections and deliveries supervisor he organises his team of volunteers to make collections and deliveries all over the county.

He knows only too well the positive impact the charity makes on those it helps. His first contact with it was as a customer himself.

He said: “I moved to Corsham from Wales and my partner and I had nothing. We popped in and were helped. I got chatting to one of the staff here because he was Welsh too. Then I started volunteering.

“I love working here because of the self-worth you get from helping people. You can really lift them and I know what it feels like to be in their shoes.”

Manager Phil Reade says the policy of the charity is to keep the prices of the furniture as low as possible. If items don’t sell immediately they are reduced in price. Non-sellers are usually given away free.

“We are proud that we keep the furniture out of landfill,” he said. “Last year we provided more than 2,600 people with 75 tonnes of furniture.”

Customer service volunteers Rose Loud and Julie Butt have devised a deposit scheme that allows customers to put a deposit on items if they don’t enough money with them. A new Facebook site also allows people to see furniture online and pay by phone if needed.

The charity also relies on volunteers, many of whom have been long-term unemployed. Sue Dahlman has been volunteering for two-and-a-half years after spending more than six months without a job.

“I love it here,” she said. “There is such an eclectic mix of people and we all get along. But the most rewarding thing is helping the people who come in.

“So many of them have not got a lot of money and it gives them a bit of self-respect that they can come in here and are able to afford to buy things.”

Of the 35 volunteers who worked with the charity in 2017, nine left to go to full-time jobs, having been given the skills and confidence to apply.

Mr Reade said: “We have got a wonderful team here.”

Nominations are open until September 16 for the awards. To nominate visit www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/pride and follow the instructions.