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New Scheme Offers Tenants Access To Affordable Furniture
A North East housing association is launching an innovative new project, designed to provide tenants with an alternative to expensive rent-to-own furniture schemes.
Derwentside Homes is offering its tenants the chance to buy new household furniture, electrical items and white goods through its community project – The Store.
Set up in partnership with the Prince Bishops Community Bank and Social Housing Enterprise Durham (SHED), the scheme aims to steer tenants away from loan sharks and other high cost borrowing options.
Keith Tallintire, Derwentside Homes’ Director of Resources, said: “We already offer a furnished tenancy package which allows tenants to rent furniture, but we wanted to extend this to give them the option to buy too.
“There has been coverage in the news recently about the increase in people turning to expensive credit providers and we have also had problems with loan sharks operating in the areas in which our tenants live.
“The aim of The Store is to help our tenants buy their own furniture without getting into financial difficulties and to encourage regular savings at the same time.”
The Store offers a range of products, including televisions, cookers, fridge-freezers and bedroom and living-room furniture.
Tenants can browse through a catalogue or drop into The Store shop, in Front Street, Stanley , which opens next month.
They pay for their products weekly, with the total cost around 40% lower than some other repayment stores.
As well as this, 25p from each weekly instalment will go directly into a Prince Bishops Community Bank savings account, automatically set up for tenants when they join the scheme.
Tenants can then chose to have their items delivered and installed by SHED – a social enterprise set up by Derwentside Homes and East Durham Partnership, which provides training and job opportunities for unemployed local people by offering home-improvements such as gardening, internal and external decoration and small repairs.
It is hoped that if The Store is successful, this could lead to further jobs being created at SHED.
Initially, the scheme will only be available to Derwentside Homes’ tenants, but it is hoped it can be extended to all residents living throughout County Durham in the future.
Mr Tallintire said: “This is an innovative project which brings together a number of partners and will provide access to high quality products at an affordable price.
“It is part of our commitment to ensuring our tenants are given the financial support they need, which is especially important in the current economic climate.”
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