What wind farm workers left behind now furnishes empty homes

Tim Chard (left) of Pathfinders and Richard Edkins amidst the furniture stored in a garage.
Tim Chard (left) of Pathfinders and Richard Edkins amidst the furniture stored in a garage.

What on earth do you do when 60 workers move out of town, their job done, but the seats they sat on are left behind?

You find a way of recycling them to those who need them – that’s what you do.

Or rather, it’s what Richard Edkins of Whitton Concrete has done over the last three months.

When the foundations for the turbines at the Sapphire Wind Farm were being laid, 60 workers came in and rented 16 houses – without furniture.

So beds, seats, sofas, shelves and all the other paraphernalia a house needs were bought.

And then when they went the furniture was redundant and had to be cleared from the rented houses.

So Richard Edkins who worked for the concrete company took it on himself to find new uses for barely used furniture.

He said: “I put my hand up. We washed the bedding and gave it to charities”.”

He collected a Rural Fire Service shipping container full of the stuff and stored it until he could work out how to distribute it. 

He and a heap of charities including Pathfinders, Vinnies, the Glen Innes Opportunity Shop, the Salvation Army and Glen Innes Family and Youth Support Services told him they could put the stuff to good use.

Richard Edkins said: “Whittens believed that all people should benefit from the wind farm projects – hence the donation to the local charities”.

One grateful user was the Specialist Homelessness Service of Pathfinders which helps about twenty homeless people in Glen Innes a week. Its worker, Tim Chard, said: “The biggest reason for homelessness is financial distress (simply not having money) so that when people set up a new home they don’t have anything.

“”That means this furniture will go a long way to helping people in need.

“This generosity is most appreciated.”

Mayor Steve Toms also praised the effort. He felt it showed that there were wide gains from the in-coming of workers for the wind farms.

What, by the way, do sixty wind farm workers leave behind in the way of furniture when they move on?

Five double beds, five coffee table, ten bedside tables, ten tallboys, four entertainment units, three two-seater loungers, five three-seater loungers, two vacuum cleaners, five double mattresses, one microwave oven, one dryer, ten dining chairs, one book shelf and one sofa bed.

Much of this has now been distributed to people who really need it.

One mystery remains: one vacuum cleaner for 16 houses and 60 workers?

Would their mothers approve?