NOAH Enterprises’ furniture shop in Power Court used to be one of Luton’s best kept secrets.
But no longer.
It’s just had a revamp and is lighter, brighter and bursting at the seams with New, Old and Hardly Used items - the capital letters subtly reinforcing the award-winning NOAH brand.
The charity’s chief executive Jim O’Connor is hoping a current advertising campaign will encourage many more customers to flock to the shop for its unbelievable bargains – everything from a brand new black leather suite for £249 to a refurbished and guaranteed Bosch washing machine for only £140.
The Furniture Store is the flagship of the organisation that helps the homeless and disadvantaged.
Not only do all its profits go into funding this vital service, but it also doubles as a skills training centre for those who need a helping hand to get back into the community.
Mr O’Connor said: “Luton is facing a tsunami of poverty.
“The number of people living in seriously deprived circumstances is increasing.
“Statutory support services have been cut with more pruning promised. The impending Welfare Reform Bill has far-reaching implications, as has Luton Borough Council’s need to find estimated savings of £48 million when planning for the three year period from April next year.
“Then there is the Chancellor’s intention to reduce the welfare budget by a further £10 billion.”
With temperatures dropping and Christmas just around the corner, services are already stretched to capacity.
But Mr O’Connor stressed: “NOAH is determined to continue providing life-saving services to the increasing number of people living on the margins of society, many on the streets.
“That is a major reason why our retails stores are so important to us – they’re a precious source of income and much more.”
The good news is that whatever you buy, it will help NOAH help others.
Its facilities include a day centre, resettlement and benefit advice, drug and alcohol support, counselling, healthcare, hygiene and an outreach service in addition to hot meals and a soup kitchen.
It also offers work experience and skills training in areas such as woodwork and furniture restoration, white goods refurbishment, IT skills and admin.
Volunteers serve more than 2,500 meals a month and 53 people made use of the night shelter during the winter.
A team from The Mall in Luton spent two days painting and decorating the charity’s Park Street centre last month.
Mall manager Mark Broadhead said: “The work NOAH does on a daily basis is truly remarkable.
“We’re really pleased that through our Mall Cares initiative we’ve had the opportunity to give something back to a very deserving organisation and we will continue to support them.”
Mr O’Connor said there was no quick fix to homelessness: “People become and stay homeless for a number of reasons. Simply putting a roof over someone’s head is rarely enough to correct the chain of events that led them there in the first place.”
> For more information about The Furniture Store and NOAH call 01582 728416 or visit www.noahenterprise.org