Games legacy helps furnish homes for people in need

THE operation to move, store and distribute furniture from the Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village in Glasgow to people in need is unprecedented in scale.

Furniture from the former Athletes Village has been donated to families in need. Picture: Jane Barlow

Our teams of staff made no fewer than 2,500 round trips to move more than 40,000 items of furniture and household goods from the Village in the city’s East End.

Demand for the furniture in the first few months was high, with sofas and bean bags quickly snapped up by families needing help to furnish their homes. Our teams worked flat out for months to get as much out as quickly as we could, working with 78 community organisations, charities and other housing associations, to pass on furniture to thousands of people in and around Glasgow.

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In total, more than 22,000 items have made their way so far into people’s homes, with Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) and its sister organisations helping 1,500 households directly during this monumental Games legacy effort.

As well as the sheer scale of the operation, there have been other challenges. We needed far more storage facilities than originally expected and we have been left with hundreds of mattresses few people want. Although we deep-clean every single one before it is handed over, very few people want a second-hand mattress. In fact, some are actually third-hand since they were recycled from the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

To make matters worse, there has also been water penetration at the storage facility, which left some of the unwanted mattresses and other items soiled and damaged. However, we do have contents insurance and our teams are continuing to clean, repair and recycle the remaining items.

We are still delivering items to around half a dozen homes a week. We are also now looking at how we can recycle the remaining mattresses, with all money raised re-invested into community legacy projects.

I recently met Barry, a GHA tenant who received Games furniture, and he told me: “There are people out there who don’t have anything at all. It has really helped them out.”

It’s for people like Barry that we stepped in and I have no doubtit has been a hugely worthwhile and important Games legacy.

• Gordon Sloan is chair of Glasgow Housing Association