Safe Store For Future

A furniture storage firm has become the latest business to support plans for a £1.7million homeless community. Emmaus, which has 440 similar communities in 40 countries, has purchased the former Birches care home building in Ribbleton, to create the 14th such community in the UK.

The long-awaited project, due to open in September, will provide shelter for 25 companions’ as the residents are known. The central source of income for the charity is collecting, refurbishing and selling furniture.

To help give Emmaus a running start, storage business Safestore, of Ribbleton Lane, has offered to store furniture destined for the centre for free until the autumn launch.

Project manager for Emmaus, Bob Marchant, said Safestore’s generosity had given the charity a head start. He said: “We had a stock of furniture but nowhere to put it so Safestore really came to the rescue. Furniture is the lifeblood of all our communities and we will now have a decent opening stock to work on and sell once we are up and running. Safestore didn’t hesitate to help and it is that kind of attitude from Preston’s businesses and individuals which will make this centre a success.”

Maurizio Posteraro, assistant manager of Preston Safestore, said: “We were only to glad to help out. We are going to be neighbours once the centre is open so it was the right thing to do to put a little back.”

Funding for the purchase and refurbishment of the Birches, which was vacated by Lancashire County Council in July 2006, will come from an offshore trust which has paid for many of the other shelters.