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Vital Thorpe Edge lifeline gets a new building
A lifeline furniture service is set to re-open in new buildings more than four months after arsonists destroyed its base.
The Newlands Furniture Service sells second-hand and unwanted items at discount prices, mainly to people from deprived communities on low incomes. The service has been struggling since its showroom, in Rockwell Lane, Thorpe Edge, Bradford, was ravaged in the arson attack in March.
Staff and volunteers have coped by selling furniture out of steel containers on the site, while the charred wood remains of the showroom were cleared. There has also been disruption to a steady stream of unemployed people who are referred to the service from the Job Centre as part of a programme to get people back into work.
Cranes have now lifted a £47,000 replacement building onto the site. The service reopens on Monday in a steel and plastic structure which should prove more secure.
The fire spread from a space under the previous building’s wooden base.
Hundreds of donated items including clothing, vinyl records, kitchenware and bedding were destroyed.
Manager Brenda Rhodes said: “It’s been a struggle, but the new building is going to be fantastic. The main problem has been displaying stock.
“Before the fire we were increasing the number of customers that use us but people have thought we were shut until a few weeks ago. Hopefully this will get us back on track.”
She said staff had relied on using kitchens and toilets at residents’ homes and the neighbouring Rockwell Community Centre which leases the land to the service.
The new building, bought mainly from an insurance payout, is much bigger than the previous base.
Staff hope to boost their stock by picking up unwanted furniture from people’s homes. Anyone who wants to donate can call Mrs Rhodes on (01274) 774977. The new showroom will be open weekdays between 10.30am and 2.30pm.