Volunteers speak out after Salvation Army shop in Mansfield is closed

NMAC12-0025-1''Volunteers pictured outside the closed Salvation Army Furniture Project on Friday. Pictured frim the left are; Chris Spiller, Paul Holland, Paul Bullock and Duncan Ashworth.
NMAC12-0025-1''Volunteers pictured outside the closed Salvation Army Furniture Project on Friday. Pictured frim the left are; Chris Spiller, Paul Holland, Paul Bullock and Duncan Ashworth.

VOLUNTEERS at the Salvation Army furniture shop in Mansfield say they are shocked after the store was closed down by the charity’s bosses.

The shop has supplied bedding and furniture to homeless people and the Mansfield community for more than 10 years but the popular outlet has now been closed for ‘operational reasons’.

But volunteers say the Kirkland Avenue shop is one of the most successful charity outlets in the country and has made around £25,000 in the last six months.

Chris Spiller, who worked in a voluntary role at the store for nearly 10 years, fears the closure will have an immediate impact on homeless people in Mansfield and Ashfield.

“Myself and my team of volunteers work without wage and often work 47 hours per week, raising funds for the needy in and around Mansfield,” he said.

“My team of five volunteers have quadrupled the takings to approximately £1,000 a week, or put another way we have raised £25,000 in the last six months.

“Last week out of the blue, we were told our project was closing in seven days without reason or sense.

“There was a saying that when you work for free, you’re never out of work, that’s clearly not the case now.”

Chris says he has also received backing from the Mansfield public over the ‘illogical’ closure of the project at a time of recession.

“We raise money for Mansfield and I’d like to thank the volunteers for all their years of hard work” he added.

Volunteer Paul Bullock has worked for the furniture store for six months and says it provides a much needed service for the Mansfield community.

“We often work 45 hours a week but there is great job satisfaction from seeing how much people appreciate what you’ve done,” he said.

Paul says the shop has never been busier and charities such as Framework and Jigsaw used the service to kit homeless people with beds, mattresses and sleeping bags.

A spokesman for The Salvation Army said it had been a strategic decision to close the furniture shop.

“We are currently looking at more ways in which we can efficiently and effectively work to benefit the community through our social programme,” said the spokesman.