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Why and How to Donate a Sofa to Charity

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Antonio Wedral
Why and How to Donate a Sofa to Charity

Wondering how you can dispose of an old sofa to make room for your new one? Most people will either take it to the tip themselves or arrange a waste collection with their local council which can be bulky, time-consuming and a hassle. But, if your sofa is still in a good condition, there are many charities who will accept it.

Did you know that a staggering 22 million pieces of furniture are discarded every year in the UK? And much of that ends up straight in landfill which is very damaging to the environment. Here at Swyft, we care about the planet which is why we try to make our sofa manufacturing and delivery process as sustainable as possible.

There are countless charities across the UK that are always on the lookout for old furniture that can be upcycled, reused, loved by another family or individual and kept out of landfill. So why not enjoy the comfort of a new sofa while donating your old one to a worthy cause? To help you find the perfect place to donate your sofa, we’ve created a list of UK charities that accept unwanted sofas and offer free collections so it’s inexpensive and hassle-free.

Important Advice on Fire Labels when Donating a Sofa

Before you arrange for a charity to collect your sofa, one thing you must make sure of is that it still has the fire label attached. In the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988, it states that it is actually illegal to supply second-hand sofas “in the course of business or trade” that don't have the fire safety label attached. This means that any charities selling sofas to the general public for fundraising purposes can’t accept sofas without the label. But, they can still pass sofas on to anyone in need or for a community project either for free or a much smaller fee.

You’ll usually be able to find the label either sewn or stapled to the sofa beneath the cushions. If you can’t find it and don’t think it has the safety label, contact the charity first to see if they can still accept it.

UK Charities that Offer Free Sofa Collections

The charities listed below operate on a large scale across the UK with many stores in large towns and cities open and accepting furniture donations. Although, it’s always best to contact them either through their website, by phone or just popping into your local store to double-check and arrange the collection.

The British Heart Foundation

With hundreds of shops in the UK that have sold over 140,000 donated sofas and chairs, The British Heart Foundation is a charity dedicated to fighting heart disease through cutting-edge research and education. They also offer support for those living with heart and circulatory conditions. BHF provides a free sofa collection service which you book through their website.

British Red Cross

The British Red Cross is a well-known charity that provides first-aid training and support to crisis situations, such as conflicts and disasters, both in the UK and around the world. With a variety of furniture stores across the UK, they accept sofas and will arrange a furniture collection depending on your location and the condition of the sofa.

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading independent cancer charity dedicated to funding life-saving research to help fight and beat cancer. They also offer invaluable information and support for victims of the disease. With a chain of 600 stores all over the UK, they accept donations of all kinds. Contact your local shop to arrange a sofa collection.

Debra

Debra is a national charity that focuses on research and offers support to individuals and families who suffer from Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a genetic skin condition. There are over 100 stores in the UK, with some that are purely dedicated to furniture and electronics, that will accept sofa donations. You can book a sofa collection through their website.

Oxfam

Oxfam is a global movement with millions of people involved who aim to end poverty. They believe that poverty isn’t an inevitable thing, but rather an injustice that can be overcome one day. They undertake many projects across the globe to help bring food, water and health care to communities that need it the most. They accept sofas in a good condition but it’s best to contact your local store first to ensure they can accommodate furniture and to arrange a collection or drop off.

PDSA

As the UK’s leading vet charity, PDSA provides free and low-cost treatment to pets in need. They focus on preventing illness and suffering for pets as well as educate people about animal welfare. You’ll find over 150 PDSA shops in the UK that rely on donated items to help raise funds. Some of these stores do accept furniture such as sofas but make sure you call your local store first to find out if they have the capacity to take it.

Age UK

Age UK is a charity that helps older people live life to the fullest by providing support, advice and companionship for millions of elderly people in the UK. With dedicated furniture shops in Blackpool, Boston, Bridgnorth, Leigh, Milton Keynes, Newport, Orpington, Polegate, Shanklin, and Wigan they accept good-quality sofa donations. Contact your nearest store to arrange a delivery or collection.

Emmaus

Emmaus is a charity that is working on ending homelessness by providing residence in a community where they can get the help they need to get back on their feet. If you’re located within 15 miles of one of their stores in the UK, then you can arrange a sofa collection with them.

Forces Support

Launched in 2010, Forces Support is a UK Bereavement and Veterans Charity that aims to provide support for families that have lost a loved one during armed conflict as well as support ex-servicemen and women, their families and dependants who are in need. Forces Support is always on the lookout for furniture and sofas in good condition and will arrange a collection within a 15-mile radius from one of their stores.

Sue Ryder

Sue Ryder is a charity that supports people through the most difficult times of their lives. From terminal illnesses to the loss of a loved one or another serious health condition, they offer specialist care through their facilities and also at home as well as advice and support for family members. Their biggest source of funding is through their 400 UK shops where they accept donations of all shapes and sizes and offer a free collection service for sofas.

Sense

For those who are deaf-blind or have sensory impairments, Sense helps to provide essential support so that these people can live full and independent lives and experience the world. With over 100 charity shops in the UK, their larger stores are happy to accept good-quality furniture donations. However, make sure to call ahead to find out if they have space within their store.

The good news is, even if these charities can’t offer a collection service, our flat-packed sofas are easy to disassemble and move. If you kept the boxes, you can pop the parts back in and drive to your local store to drop it off.

Sustainable Sofa Removal Alternatives

If your sofa is no longer in a good condition, whether there are stains that can’t be removed, scratches, holes or is just generally uncomfortable, there are sustainable alternatives to disposing of your sofa.

Exclusively for Swyft customers, we’ve partnered with Clearabee to provide an affordable and eco-friendly sofa removal service. To use this service, you’ll need to be a Swyft customer with a recent order or delivery. Just attach a copy of your order or delivery note so Clearabee can verify that you are a Swyft customer.

Then, all you need to do is book and pay for the collection online, choosing which items you’d like to dispose of. Make sure the items are grouped together so it’s easy for Clearabee to collect. We recommend leaving the items outside of your home too so the two-person team can collect them quickly and easily without bothering you.

On the day of collection, you’ll receive a message and then once the items have been removed you’ll receive another notification by email letting you know. The items will then be transferred to an approved Commercial Waste Transfer Station and you’ll be sent a Waste Transfer Note. Prices for this service range from £18-£48 depending on the size and how many items you have, making it extremely affordable that helps both you and the planet!

Learn more about our UK Sofa Delivery and Returns and the Clearabee Service.

If you want to lead a more eco-conscious lifestyle and buy sustainably, read our guide on how to buy eco-friendly furniture.

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