This new scheme helps over 3000 people in Liverpool with essential furniture for their homes

People and families in crisis in Liverpool are getting extra help to improve their living standards through special emergency furniture packages.

Each year the city council supports more than 3,000 people and low income families each year who are struggling to furnish their homes with essentials through its Liverpool Citizens Support Scheme.

But now there is even more help available thanks to a special partnership between the council and city-based social enterprise.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has teamed up with FRC Group to provide those in most need with everything they need to kit out their homes.

Called The Safety Net, the scheme provides packages of essential furniture items, including sofas, beds, cupboards, household items and white goods such as cookers and fridges.

People are referred to the scheme by the council, the Citizens Advice Bureau and others, often when they have exhausted the other forms of welfare support that are available in Liverpool.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson visits The Furniture Resource Centre, Brunswick Dock, to launch the initiative with members of staff from the centre. Picture Jason Roberts

FRC Group Chief Executive Shaun Doran, explains: “We have given away preloved furniture to over 55,000 families over the past three decades. Because this year is our 30th anniversary, we wanted to do something special and give away 30 of these full furniture packages. The items are collected from our Bulky Bob’s removal service, brought back to our base and are cleaned and thoroughly checked. We then invite the people who are to receive them into our showroom to choose what is best for them. Many of the people referred to the service are in poor health, have low household incomes and are struggling with unmanageable debt. The support we have provided means that households have more money available to spend on food and fuel.”

The scheme began just before Christmas and is already giving people a real lifeline. In one instance a woman was faced with the choice between buying a bed for her three-year-old or paying for food and fuel.

Typical comments from those people who have received help from the FRC Group and Liverpool City Council include:

“The furniture made a huge difference to me. We’d been on a camp bed and blow-up bed `put our clothes in. Before that we had nothing. We have saved a fortune as well – we were living out of the chippy before we got the cooker and fridge, which was really unhealthy.”

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “It is heart-breaking to hear that people in our city are forced to make a choice between feeding their children and having some of the basic items that many of us take for granted.

“Our fear is that as the government continues with welfare reforms such as Universal Credit, the number of people need this kind of help will only increase.

“We already provide more support for vulnerable people than anywhere else in the country and we will continue to do all we can to help those who need it the most.”

If you are worried about debt, are facing rent arrears or homelessness then help is available.

Visit the Liverpool Come2gether website for more information.

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