Moortown Baptist Church, 204 King Lane, Leeds LS17 6AA. Map Tel: (0113) 2693750 A member of the YBA. A registered charity No 1128960. Terms of use

Gareth and Stephen become the latest in a long line of MBC members to join the board of the Leeds and Moortown Furniture Store

15 October 2020

On Wednesday evening, via Zoom, Stephen Wylde and Gareth Davies became the latest in a long line of MBC members who over more than 30 years have been elected to the board of the Leeds and Moortown Furniture Store. 

The Store, which began life here at Moortown way back in 1986 is now made up of a team of 13 (6 of whom are regular volunteers) and is based in a 10,000sq ft warehouse on an industrial estate in Seacroft; back then under the “chairmanship” of Hilary Willmer* it’s small team of volunteers relied on garages and garden sheds for storage and for transport their cars and a horsebox.    

However, despite some enormous changes one constant has been the team’s desire to help people in need. Indeed, here is an extract from the charity’s Statement of Objects which describes its mission… “as a practical demonstration of Christian commitment to socially and economically disadvantaged people our mission is to relieve poverty by distributing donated furniture.” A commitment as alive today as it was almost three and a half decades ago. 

For those of you who aren’t too familiar with the Store, or with it’s workload here are a few stats. In the last financial year (2019/20) the Leeds and Moortown Furniture Store completed 964 deliveries, an increase of 27 on the previous year. This equates to 6,512 separate items of furniture. And it made 1,532 collections made up of 7,985 separate items. Apart from a small delivery charge each and every one of these items was supplied at no cost to themselves to an individual or a family who had been referred to the charity by one of 60 or so statutory or voluntary support agencies. Of course besides providing this very practical support each and every item of furniture reused reduces the chances of it being incinerated, dumped in landfill or worse still fly tipped. 

In more recent times one of the Store’s biggest adventures came about when in response to a request to supply new furniture to a wave of incoming refugees it set up a retail arm selling furniture, furnishings and white goods. That project, L&MFS Trading Ltd, is still going and now works alongside a number of local authority departments as well as several social housing schemes supplying anything from a tea spoon to a fridge freezer; any profit the trading company makes is of course immediately covenanted across to the charity. 

Right from the start the Leeds and Moortown Furniture Store and LMFS Trading have had just one aim, and that’s been addressing the needs of people in Leeds. In 2020, and particularly following a three month Covid-19 closure it’s only through the commitment and drive of its trustees, directors, management, staff and volunteers that this aim continues to be fulfilled .

That said without you playing your part and donating your unwanted furniture (beds, sofas, tables, chairs, wardrobes, cabinets etc. etc.) none of this would be possible. 

At this moment in time besides Gareth and Stephen, Graham Brownlee, Karen Handley, John Sherbourne, Terry Kelly (Middleton Baptist Church) and Gillean Howitt (a former social worker/service user) sit on the charity and trading company boards whilst another MBC member John Gamson is the Store’s Manager. 

To read more about the charity and to find out how you can support L&MFS by making a one off cash donation visit or call Chair of Trustees John Sherbourne 0n 07913505865.

Thank you.

*When we told Hilary Willmer about the arrival of two new, home grown trustees we also invited her to write a couple of sentences recounting the early days. Here’s what she sent us.

The Furniture store was certainly founded by Moortown Baptist Church in 1986; it arose from my frustration when in Chapeltown CAB I encountered  families with no beds for their children or chairs to sit on – while members of MBC asked if I could find a home for good quality furniture that they no longer needed. The first committee included Christine Robson as secretary, myself as chair, Julie Harris as treasurer for one year as well as Joan Thompson and John Hornby; all members of MBC.  And since then involvement in many ways has continued by direct involvement of many members and much needed financial support from the church as well as the early minibus.

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