A CHARITY that helps those on low income furnish their homes is appealing for help to buy a new van.

Top Drawer, based in Walcot, offers furniture at a reduced price as well as providing the basics for those who have been homeless and are moving into new accommodation.

A van is essential as it is needed to move more than 150 tons of furniture a year. However, after years of service the charity’s vehicle is coming to the end of its life.

“It has served us loyally but it is now falling apart,” said Steve Pickering, the team leader of Top Drawer.

“The van is vital to everything we do. It is not only important in terms of dropping off furniture but we need it to pick up the items that have been donated.”

It is going to cost £12,000 to buy a new van so the charity is looking for ways to raise the money or a local business to work with.

“We are desperate so are looking for any help we can get,” Steve said. “We would happily work with a local business to set up a sponsorship deal. Our van drives all over the region so we are very visible.” The furniture provided by Top Drawer, which works alongside Swindon Council, is vital in helping people who have nothing get back on their feet.

“It can be a traumatic experience for people who have been given accommodation but have nothing to fill it,” said Steve. “We had one example just before Christmas of an elderly gentleman who had been homeless for a number of years and had found somewhere to live.

“However, when we went round to help he had nothing, not even cutlery.”

The charity relies on donations to survive. It is are able to find a home for good quality items that may otherwise be thrown away.

Often the furniture it receives is being given back to them from someone who needed the charity in the past.

“One woman gave us furniture. When we went to collect it she thanked us for saving her life when we helped her out first,” said Steve.

Top Drawer is staffed by volunteers and works with the Job Centre to provide work experience for those out of work. It also works with other charities to provide unpaid work to victims of domestic abuse and those with mental health issues.

To donate to Top Drawer or help with sponsorship call 01793 536613.