Just as we are told to swap plastics for reusable, eco-friendly coffee mugs or shopping bags, we can also ‘reuse’ and reuse furniture for our home.
Buying second-hand, or “vintage,” will help you save on the environmental resources involved in producing brand new items – and it’ll save you money, too.
There are many opportunities to source used furniture and furnishings in Leeds, whether by joining an online exchange and sales group on Facebook, visiting fairs such as the Leeds Vintage Furniture & Home Fair at Farsley’s Sunny Bank Mills or from one of the many charity shops in town.
Emmaus Leeds has a second hand store in Burmantofts which is full of furniture, antiques and knick-knacks.
The charity’s regional communications manager, Jess Gibson, said: “It’s a huge space so there are lots of sofas, dining tables, units, wardrobes – all of them. opportunity.
“Locals donated all of these items and they range from vintage solid oak furniture, very good quality but older items, to slightly newer and more modern things as well.
“It’s a place where you can find truly unique pieces. “
The stock is constantly changing as people donate more items and the charity also does house removals, which means there are often original and excellent quality items on offer.
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Jess said: “Stores are now remaking new furniture to make it look older, like the 60s when we are actually getting the authentic 60s.
“It’s funny how fashionable things are coming back.
“Most of the time, it’s about stumbling across something and being lucky.
“You might find three things one day and nothing the next, it just depends on the stock levels because it’s different every time you go.
“We are constantly introducing new things, so I would say persevere and visit these places regularly because great things will happen, but you might not win gold on the first visit.”
However, it’s not just about getting a good deal – all profits go directly to the charity, which supports people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion by providing them with housing, work. and an opportunity to progress.
Jess said: “100% of what is made in the store goes back to the charity.
“What is really unique about Emmaus is that it is a charity for the homeless, so the model is that above the second-hand store there is has in fact a whole community where 26 people who were previously homeless have the opportunity to join the association and rebuild their lives.
“They have their own bedroom and en-suite bathroom, they get all their meals, they are offered 40 hours of work per week in the store, so they can help sell the furniture, they can move out, lift them, drive them. to pick up more furniture.
“It’s all part of a social enterprise. Many of these people are actually street homeless, so they have been through a lot and have the opportunity to learn new skills.
“The ultimate goal is for these people to then move on, find their own home and simply get back on their own two feet.
“They are fully supported by the charity for as long as they need to be and when they are ready to move on.
She added, “Second-hand shopping is more sustainable, better quality, cheaper and has more character.
“Then the whole other layer is that for every penny spent that goes to a charity that helps the homeless in Leeds.”
Emmaus Leeds also has a stand in Kirkgate Market.
Zero Waste Leeds has put together a comprehensive list of places people can donate and purchase used items on their website: www.zerowasteleeds.org.uk