Being without basic household necessities such as a bed and a cooker is something most people would find unimaginable.

But for some this is a harsh reality and the need for help and support in situations like these is on the increase.

In the last three months 112 deliveries of essential furniture and household appliances have been made by Epping Forest ReUse (EFRU) to people in need referred through the Essential Living Fund.

EFRU’s shop opened in 2013 to enable people on low incomes to access affordable, good quality furniture and home appliances.

The charity has received funding from the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF) to continue its vital work.

Although Epping Forest is seen as an affluent area, many people are in financial difficulty and lack the essentials to make their daily life easier or more comfortable.

EFRU provides furniture and household appliances for those who find themselves in need of help, including women who have experienced domestic violence, moved on from a refuge to a flat, but have nothing to furnish it with. It also helps homeless people in a similar situation and to enable patients to come home from hospital.

Donated furniture and household appliances are collected without cost to the owner and the charity sells the goods at low or discounted prices. Some items are provided free to people referred by approved agencies and to customers identified by staff as being in exceptional need.

The pandemic has meant EFRU has had to close its shop, but the charity is continuing its work and has been designated as an essential service.

Referrals are still being made through the Essential Living Fund to help those in crisis, including the provision of starter packs of basic items needed to set up a home.

Janet Whitehouse, a trustee for EFRU said: “It has been a difficult year and there is more demand than ever before for our services. An increasing number of people need help with basic equipment for their homes. The coronavirus pandemic has affected the amount of goods donated to us and currently there is a great need for donations of white goods.”

Caring for the environment is another aspect of EFRU’s work and each year it saves nearly 100 tonnes of goods from going to landfill. Upcycling furniture is something that the charity is keen to resume doing in the future.

The charity has two full-time and four part-time staff and, when lockdown restrictions are eased, will be able to resume another of its aims, to promote volunteering.

Despite the current difficulties, the charity is determined to continue its work and is embracing the future with a new manager, Esther Herel, who is passionate about the charity sector.

Esther said: “Since I started at Epping Forest ReUse in January the staff have continued deliveries of essential furniture and household appliances to people in need and I’ve started a Click and Collect service. I’m looking forward to our showroom re-opening on April 12 so we can welcome customers back again”.

EFRU’s showroom near Epping station is open to all. To donate items to Epping Forest ReUse, call 01992 578222 or email