A charity which recycles used furniture by distributing to those most in need, has been given a boost by generous workers.

The Ladywood Furniture Project in Birmingham collects up to 600 tonnes of used furniture each year, ranging from tables and chairs, to beds, wardrobes and three-piece suites.

It then distributes it to people in need who have been referred to the charity by one of around 200 agencies including the prison service, social services, housing associations and hostels for the homeless.

The charity, based near the city centre in Eyre Street is run by a small dedicated team of staff assisted by volunteers and trainees gaining work experience through New Deal, said general manager Conor Barry.

The charity rents 13,000 sq ft of warehousing, half of which is a retail store where people visit to choose their furniture with items ranging in price from around #5 for beds to #10 for wardrobes.

Staff at Edgbaston-based Pertemps Employment Alliance (PEA) recently presented #350 to Mr Barry. PEA employees contribute each month to a Give As You Earn (GAYE) scheme and have donated more than #20,000 to dozens of good causes and charities in the last 12 months. The money will be used to buy uniforms for staff and volunteers at the charity.

Mr Barry added: "The donation from Pertemps Employment Alliance is much appreciated and will be put to good use, buying new shirts, trousers and protective clothing for our team.

"We are asked to help an average of 4,000 people each year with some form of furniture. Our free collection and delivery service handles around 600 tonnes per year from generous public donations right across the region including Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Walsall, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton and re-distributes it to people in Birmingham. We also supply other charities such as the Salvation Army assisting former residents leaving hostels."

For more details about the Ladywood Furniture Project, l aunched in 1989 by local people, go to www.ladywoodfurnitureproject.org.

Over 66 per cent of PEA employees have signed up to the GAYE scheme, which deducts money from the member's salary. For further information on GAYE, visit www.allaboutgiving.org.uk.