Boost as homeless charity given top-end furniture

CALA homes' Claire McLoughlin, Keith Robertson, director at Fresh Start, and Stewart Ferguson Operations manager at Fresh Start help load the van with furniture. Picture: Ian Georgeson
CALA homes' Claire McLoughlin, Keith Robertson, director at Fresh Start, and Stewart Ferguson Operations manager at Fresh Start help load the van with furniture. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Life for more than 20 people who were recently homeless has been transformed after a housebuilder donated top-of-the-range furniture to kit out their new homes.

A total of 24 properties have been given a new lease of life with beds, sofas and other essentials which previously graced high-end show homes.

The furniture was donated by CALA Homes to Edinburgh charity Fresh Start, which helps those who have experienced homelessness get settled into their new homes.

Established in 1999, the Fresh Start team said the donation would be “vital” in helping the new householders get back on their feet.

Jen McQuistan, corporate partnership coordinator at Fresh Start, said: “CALA was absolutely delighted when we let them know that the donation has allowed us to furnish 24 separate properties.

“I don’t think they’d realised we’d be able to do so much with it.

“This is so important, because many people we work with have absolutely nothing when they first receive their keys. Often they don’t have the social or financial support to buy the bare necessities – so having their new home furnished takes a great worry off their minds.

“Moving house can be stressful enough, but for the formerly homeless it can be an especially daunting task. The donation from CALA Homes has played a huge part in making people feel settled and secure in their new homes.”

One of those who has been helped out by the donation is mum-of-two Nikki Davidson-Lloyd, who lost everything in a house fire in 2016.

The family spent six months in temporary accommodation before getting a new flat in Newcraighall, which has now kitted out with some of the new CALA furniture.

Jen added: “Quite simply, the furniture plays a huge part in making them feel settled and secure in their new homes.

“Ensuring that vulnerable people are established properly improves both their current situation and their future outlook.”

Items donated by the housebuilder ranged from dining tables and chairs to mattresses, chest of drawers and bedside tables.

The furniture had all previously features in the housebuilders eastern Scotland show homes, meaning all pieces were virtually brand new.

Philip Hogg, sales and marketing director at CALA Homes (East), said: “To learn that the furniture we donated has made such a positive impact to the lives of at least 24 people is hugely gratifying.

“Everyone at CALA Homes is delighted that this furniture is being put towards such an important cause.

“For us it is important that we don’t just build homes, but that we help build healthy communities.

“Fresh Start really provides a vital service to the city of Edinburgh and working in partnership with the charity has been hugely rewarding for our team.

“We really are thrilled to hear this has made a real, positive difference.”

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk