Could your empty building boost Leeds’s ‘re-use revolution’ and help families in need?

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LEEDS is having a ‘re-use’ revolution.

Donations of household items to help needy families have rocketed - to the point there isn’t enough space to house the mountains of usable fridges, cookers and furniture coming through the doors of the city’s seven re-use charities.

Project bosses are now looking for a ‘hub’ space big enough to hold the donated items, as well as to store in bulk second-hand products that could be bought ultra cheaply for as little as £12 and be fixed up and passed on to households who can’t afford to buy new.

Ali Ward is chair of the Leeds Furniture Re-Use Group, a network of charities which work together to collect unwanted furniture and household items from the public and businesses and make them available to people in need to help them set up home in an affordable way.

She told a Leeds City Council watchdog panel that after a sharp increase in donations, the groups are now in need of an empty warehouse space to store donated items “instead of having to turn down items because of lack of space.” She added that the council could ultimately save money on its welfare bill if the group was able to stock up on more items.

The panel suggested that any local businesses with an empty warehouse space, who were willing to hand it over to the scheme, could be given a business rate discount.

Councillor Pauleen Grahame said the success of the drive so far was proof that “common sense has prevailed”.

Councillor John Illingworth pointed out that any big central hub might be hard for some people to get to, and suggested the city could trade the donated goods online via a dedicated website.

Organisations like Freegle already champion the re-use cause with much success.

Date: 11th November 2017. 'Picture James Hardisty. The 'Leeds Grand Quarte in New briggate. Pictured The Howard Assembly Room at Opera North.

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