A charity in South Shropshire is temporarily suspending all collections of donations as it struggles to cope with rubbish dumped on its doorstep.
The Furniture Scheme, in Ludlow, restores and resells unwanted furniture and offers a free collection service, but in recent months items which should be taken to the tip have instead been dumped by their door.
Staff say the problem has increased ‘out of all proportion’ in the last few months and dedicated volunteers are becoming increasing stressed about keeping on top of it.
Chief executive Jean Jarvis MBE said: “We’ve always been so grateful to the local public for their donations of unwanted household items which we use to help people in need.
“We’ve been struggling to keep up with the increase of uncontrolled deliveries to our premises but we’ve reached breaking point and this is a cry for help.
“A once a month community skip would help, as would fencing and gating our yard because, as a charity, we can’t afford the fencing and gates needed to control the site.
“We’ve contacted the local council to start the process of helping us solve what has become a very real problem to us.”
Jean said the problem started when the civic amenity site in Coder Road, Ludlow, closed in 2014, since then there has been a steady increase in items being left outside either out of hours or when the team are dealing with customers.
“Over the last few month this has increased out of all proportion and people are dumping trailer and van loads of household items that cannot be recycled repaired or reused,” she added.
“Staff and volunteers are now spending a lot of time sorting and processing what they can and driving the rest to the waste centre at Craven Arms.
“There is a huge cost and time implication to this, besides the stressful conditions that staff and volunteers are now under as they try to deal with this alongside their normal roles.”
The charity, which was launched over 20 years ago to benefit some of the most excluded members of the community, is now getting complaints from neighbours because the yard at the back of the warehouse on Weeping Cross Lane is unsightly as staff and volunteers struggle to keep it clear and tidy under the pressure of this increased demand.
As a result, the charity is suspending all collections – other than those already booked in – through July to deal with this problem.
When they restart the free collection service they will only collect items that can be reused or repaired.
Shropshire Councillor Vivienne Parry, for Ludlow South, is fully supporting the charity and will spearhead a campaign to help improve the situation.
She said: “The Furniture Scheme does some wonderful work in Ludlow and the people of this town are at the heart of what they do. It is a shame some people feel they can treat the site as a dumping ground, this greatly hampers the work they do.
“I would call upon these people to use the designated recycling centre in Craven Arms and think before they either donate items or leave items outside the charity. I do appreciate that sometimes people do not have the money or the transport to dispose of it properly and I am going to talk to the council and see if they can put a skip out occasionally and try to get the leader of the Council Peter Nutting to come down to Ludlow and see the problem.
“It is terrible the way Shropshire Council has dumped everything in people’s laps.”
Anyone who would like to volunteer or answer this appeal for help, or for more information about The Furniture Scheme, should call 01584 874922.