After months of building work, the Horsham Matters Community Charity Centre in the Guildford Road is now open for business.
Reverend Jo Elvidge, of Horsham Churches Together, cut the ribbon last Saturday with David Sheldon, Horsham district councillor and chief executive of Horsham Matters.
“Horsham Matters is the action arm of Horsham Churches Together, enabling our member churches to demonstrate God’s love for our local community in practical ways” said Rev Elvidge.
“It’s been great to see how God has blessed this work over the last three years – when Cllr Bailey first opened the premises three years ago we had no idea how long Horsham Matters would be able to stay in these premises and now they have this fantastic centre and a long term lease which means they can continue the work helping local residents.”
The centre which sells a huge range of furniture, household goods, electrical items, toys, books, games and CDs/DVDs has been undergoing some fairly extensive work as the old Tanfield Garage had been divided up into two units to make space for a Co-Op store.
Guy Sherlock, operations director, said: “We’re just about there now.
“There a still a few things to complete, but nothing that should cause disruption for our customers. We hope that now the work is finished many more people will come along to find a bargain and to make it even better for our customers we’re offering everything at half price for the next week. We’re also extending our opening hours, so that we will now be open Tuesday to Saturday from 9.30am to 4pm.”
The income Horsham Matters generates from the sale of goods at the community charity centre goes into delivering services for the local community.
“As well as delivering our own services, we have also supported a number of other local charities,” Mr Sheldon added.
“Our focus is very much on local residents and so the work that we do is targeted at the Horsham District such as the Horsham Young Persons Advocacy service and Horsham Children Can Do. Our donations are to local charities like Phoenix Stroke Club, the WI and 4Sight. As part of Horsham Churches “Together we also support other charities run by the churches in Horsham such as Horsham Debt Advice, Streetlight and the Southwater Youth Project and we are working with HCT on the Night Shelter and Food Store projects.
“We also supply a number of other local charities with stock that we don’t sell ourselves.”
As well as goods for sale Horsham Matters can offer significant discounts to anyone who is struggling financially.
Mr Sherlock added: “We currently see at least one or two people a week who need help.
“They are quite frequently young people who are being housed for the first time and have absolutely nothing, not even a bed to sleep on or anything to cook on.
“We’re always in need of good quality beds, wardrobes, chests of drawers, fridges and cookers to help us meet the growing demand.”
Another key part activity for Horsham Matters is offering work experience and training for young people.
Mr Sheldon added: “We’re delighted to be working with Sussex Central YMCA and Central Sussex College to offer a year-long programme for young people, working at Horsham Matters and undertaking an Apprenticeship in Retail.
“This is a really exciting step for us and we hope it will lead to a stronger partnership with the YMCA and greater opportunities for local young people.”