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Grant helps users of charity’s facilities reach greater heights

communications@threerivers.gov.uk16th March 2022

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A charity which reuses, restores and re-sells furniture and other household items – as well as offering training and work experience – has been able to refurbish a much-needed stair lift thanks to a cash grant from the district council.

The 9 Lives Furniture charity shop and workshop in Rickmansworth was given just under £1,000 through Three Rivers District Council’s Community Grant scheme. The stair lift has helped increase accessibility at the charity’s shop allowing more people to visit the upstairs showroom and to take part in its training and work experience for people who are recovering from mental health problems or who have a learning disability.

9lives-2.jpgThe charity saves over 10,000 tonnes of unwanted furniture a year going into landfill and has helped thousands of disadvantaged people. Refurbished and upcycled furniture is sold to the public in its shop – or offered at a discount to local people in need of financial assistance.

 “We are trying to turn people’s houses into homes, offering people in social housing furniture which has often been restored and refurbished in our workshop,” explained Andrew Blatherwick, a trustee of 9 Lives. “And to date we have trained over 530 people with mental ill health or learning difficulties of whom over 50 have gone on to employment.”

The charity’s operations are split over different levels at its Rickmansworth premises – with workshops and showrooms on different floors. But trouble arose when its old stair lift was no longer operational, severely restricting activities at the charity.

Andrew said: “A thousand pounds to a charity like us, to get a stair lift refurbished, is actually a major thing – it is very difficult but we knew we had to have it done. That’s why we applied to the council for the grant to help us.”

Almost as soon as the work was done the new lift proved essential. For Chris – one of the many adults to attend courses at 9 Lives – it made all the difference. He said: “The lift enabled me to start the course on time as I recently had surgery preventing me climbing stairs. The course was important to me as I needed to boost my confidence and skills.”

Today the charity can open its first floor to more disabled adults than it could before, broadening the opportunities to the many people that 9 Lives supports, it also enables disabled customers to access the upstairs showroom.

Andrew continued: “For a lot of organisations they may not think of the council as the first place to apply. What charities need to ask themselves is ‘are we helping people?’ if the answer is yes, the council will probably help them too.”

To find out if and how your organisation could benefit from a grant from Three Rivers District Council click here: https://www.threerivers.gov.uk/egcl-page/community-grants#ThreeRiversCovidCommunityGrantFund

The charity is located at 25 Wharf Lane, Rickmansworth, WD3 1HA. People interested in donating furniture can find details on the charity's website www.9livesfurniture.org.uk/ 01923 718 666.