Dundee MSP recognises work of Salvation Army in tackling homelessness

published on 29 May 2018

A Dundee MSP has thanked The Salvation Army for helping break the cycle of homelessness.
Joe Fitzpatrick, who represents the Dundee City West constituency, visited the church and charity to see its work across the city - which includes two supported residential centres, a vibrant community church and furniture reuse project.

Mr Fitzpatrick began with a stop-off at The Salvation Army's furniture project at Manhattan Works. The warehouse offers high quality, good value furniture to the public as well as to people moving on from its Strathmore Lodge and Burnside Mill residential centres (Lifehouses).

The furniture project has been so popular that it has enabled The Salvation Army to furnish the homes of over 230 of its former Lifehouse residents since the project opened in 2014. The Salvation Army also provides residents with a range of volunteering and employment opportunities.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: "I was impressed with the quality of furniture and other items they have available and I’d encourage anyone that’s looking for good quality furniture to pay it a visit. You’ll also be supporting The Salvation Army’s work in helping people overcome the challenges of homelessness.”

The furniture project employs three part-time employees and has its own vehicle for collecting and delivering donated furniture. Two of the employees were previous service users and have been able to use their own experiences to help others who volunteer.

Pamela Grant, the Salvation Army's Dundee homelessness service manager, said: “With the support of the public our furniture project is going from strength to strength. We’ve received some really high quality pieces of furniture and our team are able to upcycle many of the other items. We are grateful for all donations to the project particularly those from the Leng and Mathew trusts which help sustain the work we are doing.”

The furniture project offers quality furniture and other goods to a range of customers now regularly visiting the warehouse; many of whom have experienced severe poverty but who can now purchase affordable furniture in the knowledge that this will last for many years.

The project’s workshop supervisor Frank Mulgrew said: “Since January 2014 we have helped over 230 service users by providing furniture when they move out of our centres and into their own homes. On top of that, over 6000 volunteering hours have gone into the project and many of our former volunteers have gone on to employment.”

A new initiative for the project is the upcycling of goods previously discarded as not being in suitable condition for passing on to service users or for sale to the public. The goal, while transforming furniture to good as new, is to provide training in restoration techniques to people who are unemployed and homeless. 

A number of upcycled items have now been sold and demand for such goods is increasing. The project has even taken on personal items of furniture to upcycle and finish in accordance with customers’ requirements. 

Recently a whole flat was furnished with a number of the items provided being upcycled to meet the client’s specification.

All these activities take place in a 4800 square foot warehouse located in Manhattan Works, Dundonald Street, Dundee and members of the public are welcome to visit on any weekday or by arrangement on Saturday morning by telephoning 01382 458573.