Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
HFS pillowcase

How do you sleep at night? pillowcase (photo by HFS).

How do you sleep at night?

To raise awareness of the consequences of cutting Local Welfare Assistance, Hastings Furniture Service, winner of the BBC Community Heroes Award 2013, is delivering a pillowcase to every MP in the country, screen printed with the question: ‘How do you sleep at night?’

The message on the pillowcases goes on to say: “When the government stops Local Welfare Assistance funding in April 2015, vulnerable people and families will have nowhere else to turn for beds, pillows and other essential items”.

On Wednesday 9 July, HFS is holding an event outside the House of Commons to mark the delivery of the pillowcases to which supportive MPs and members of HFS have been invited, including Mark Thomas, Caroline Lucas MP, Gloria De Piero MP (Shadow Minister for Women & Equality) and Kate Green MP.

Hand screen-printed pillowcase

Hand screen-printed pillowcase.

All of the pillowcases have been screen-printed locally, many by those who will be most affected by the cuts, which will include women fleeing domestic violence, people suffering from mental and physical health issues, ex-offenders, people experiencing a series of misfortunes who could possibly resort to loan sharks, and the homeless.

Local Welfare Assistance funding replaced Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans in 2013. In East Sussex, LWA funds pay for the Discretionary East Sussex Support Scheme, which supplies furniture, electrical goods, rent deposits, rent in advance, food and utilities for vulnerable people and families across the County. The aim of the scheme is to enable people to establish and maintain a home, so they can fully participate in school, work, community life or training.

In the last year, the East Sussex service has either prevented or resolved homelessness for nearly 400 households. 45 people have been helped to move out of residential care and live independently. Furniture or electrical goods were supplied for 699 households in need and debt advice was provided for 498 households.

Supporters with their pillowcases

Supporters with their pillowcases.

Over 20 organizations have backed a report produced by Hastings Furniture Service, which states that abolishing the scheme would not only cause increased hardship for vulnerable residents, but also cost the taxpayer a lot more in the long run as families suffer deeper and longer-term problems, such as not being able to provide an adequate, healthy home for their children.

Naomi Ridley from HFS said “MPs just are not getting the message about the impact of abolishing Local Welfare Assistance quickly enough, so we’re bringing it to them from Hastings. They must act now if the government’s short-sighted decision to abolish the fund is going to be reversed before April 2015. Working in Hastings, the most deprived town in the South-East, we see the impact that small, practical measures can have to help people live independent lives every day. The loss of this fund is devastating.”

Hastings Furniture Service website here.

HFS Facebook page here 

Hastings Furniture Service is a social enterprise and registered anti-poverty charity that:

  • Helps households with low incomes provide safe comfortable homes for themselves and their families by providing affordable reused furniture, electrical goods and paint
  • Works in partnership with East Sussex County Council and Furniture Now to deliver goods funded by the DESSS for households in need
  • Provides training for vulnerable people (such as women in Refuge accommodation) in DIY and craft skills using recycled materials
  • Runs courses in furniture restoration and crafts for people who are out of work
  • Offers opportunities for adults to gain skills, confidence and experience through volunteering, and for young adults to get work skills through pre-apprenticeships and full apprenticeships.


ESCC joins funding cut protest



Posted 15:44 Tuesday, Jul 8, 2014 In: Campaigns

1 Comment

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  1. Jess

    Well, well! A rare story about the desperate poverty and chronic unemployment which bedevil this area, and yet seem so stragnely inaudible and invisible in the local kulchural meejer.

    As opposed to promoting the fun-filled trustafarian art extravaganza running throughout the year along the Sunshine Coast, or the back to back festies of the merry pranksters of the old towns, in their priceless timber-framed antique slums …..

    I bet they have a few sheets and pillowcases to give away, but would the ungrateful underclass know how to appreciate a trompe l’oeil Feather and Black 500-thread kingsize duvet cover if they were given one?

    We COULD all join freegle I suppose darling, but it’s such a bore waiting for these people to trudge down from the Ridge on the way to the dole office – let’s drop the old suite off in Eastbourne on our next Waitrose trip: the charity shops there attract such a lovely class of person …

    Comment by Jess — Wednesday, Jul 9, 2014 @ 23:53

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