A West Suffolk charity has been dealt a serious blow after being told it can no longer collect items for the needy from a Bury St Edmunds recycling centre.
The Bury-based Gatehouse charity collects between four and five tonnes of used items every week from the recycling centre at Rougham Hill including furniture and bric-a-brac.
Of that, just one tonne a month goes to landfill.
But now the charity, which also organises Bury’s foodbank, has been told the contract for the pick-up has gone to Norfolk charity the Benjamin Foundation and that all items will be transported to Foxhall Household Waste Recycling Centre near Ipswich and sold at the centre’s new reuse shop. Gatehouse chairman, Cllr Julia Wakelam, said: “The impact will be huge, not just on the charity but on our clients, too.
“We are talking about people who are disadvantaged here who are supposed to drive all the way to Foxhall to get pieces of furniture.
“It makes no sense at all, in fact it will be positively harmful not just to us and our clients but to the environment too. We support disadvantaged people, carers, the women’s refuge and various other organisations – all of that is going to be threatened.”
The impact will be huge, not just on the charity but on our clients too.Gatehouse chairman, Cllr Julia Wakelam
The charity’s chief executive Amanda Bloomfield said: “It really has a huge knock-on effect for our clients.
“The clients who use Gatehouse are usually on benefits so having to travel down to Ipswich is not possible.
“Local people in Bury taking their items to the recycling centre in Bury will want the help to go to people in West Suffolk.”
Councillor Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “Gatehouse, or for that matter, any other existing re-use charity will continue to receive donations in a number of ways.
“People are encouraged to take their reusable items directly to their local charity.
“If residents contact their local council they will be given full details of their local charities that accept reusable items and can choose to take them directly.
“It is only when residents take their unwanted items to their local household waste recycling centre (HWRC) that these items will be removed and given to the new re-use shop at Foxhall.
“Reusable items taken from HWRC in Suffolk will stock the shop that serves Suffolk’s residents.”