A FORMER homeless man from Coventry is urging people to donate unwanted pieces of furniture to a charity which helped him find a place to live and provided help and support.
Dean Warren was living in a tent by a brook when he was assisted by Emmaus Coventry and Warwickshire which helps vulnerable people change their lives for the better.
Every year the charity ensures £120,000 worth of furniture – some 6,700 piece including wardrobes, beds and three-piece suites – are saved from going landfill and are put to good use.
The collected goods are sold in Emmaus’ specialist second-hand furniture shop on Red Lane, to help fund the charity’s work.
The charity even offers a free collection service for large items which are in good condition.
Emmaus Coventry and Warwickshire also provides a home and meaningful work for 17 people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion.
Some stay for a while as they gain confidence and skills before they are ready to move on to independent living, while others are in need of longer-term support and are able to stay for as long as they need to.
Dean became homeless after spending four years caring for his mum.
He said: “My life was once very good. I had a great job as a chef but had to give it up to look after mum when she became ill.
“After she died I couldn’t pay the rent and so found myself on the streets.
“For almost 18 months I slept in a tent near where I used to live. It was the cold temperatures that really got to me.
“Each day seemed like it lasted a fortnight. I didn’t see or talk to anybody because I was tucked away in a woodland.
“Some people might think it sounded like an adventure but when it’s below zero outside, and you’ve got a long beard full of ice, it’s not fun.”
Emmaus gave Dean a home, meaningful work and support and his plea for people to donate furniture for the cause comes during National Recycling Week.
“Emmaus is brilliant – it’s like a stepping stone to get back into reality. I’ve got my own room and a reason to get out of bed each morning.
“Emmaus has given me back the confidence that seemed to slip away when I was homeless.
“My sense of pride has returned as well – I always used to be a smartly dressed person and now I feel like myself again.
“Emmaus has given me my life back and I’m incredibly thankful.”
Dean urged people to look around their homes, sheds, lofts and garages and if they find any quality furniture they do not need, contact
Emmaus to have it collected for a good cause.
Anyone with quality furniture should call 02476 661466 or visit emmaus.org.uk/coventry-warwickshire/donate-goods to arrange a collection.