THE star of a television property show has praised a Weymouth scheme to recycle furniture and help those on a low income.

Martin Roberts, presenter of Homes Under the Hammer, is in Weymouth today for the official opening of Twice as Nice.

The not-for-profit project on Albany Road on the Granby Industrial Estate was launched by Synergy Housing but run on a day-to-day basis by Weymouth Community Volunteers.

A crowd gathered for the opening ceremony and an AIR FM roadshow kept people entertained. Mr Roberts was late performing the opening ceremony as his car broke down on the way to Weymouth.

Speaking about the new store, Mr Roberts said: “It provides a really important local service and enables people who might not otherwise be able to afford to furnish their homes to do so.

“On top of that it's an ultimately perfect recycling scenario because things are being re-used instead of being thrown out.”

Project manager Laura Kavanagh said: “We get a lot of really high quality items which, with a bit of care, could easily be used again, so it's really good for the environment in that way.

“We have a two-tier pricing system, so those in receipt of means-tested benefits are offered a lower price, but it is all still affordable by those who aren't on benefits but still on a low income.”

She added: “We work with a lot of referral agencies and some people need everything, from a knife and fork to a sofa, and that's what we provide.”

The centre also runs a scheme where people can donate half pots of paint, which are then sold on for a low price.

Twice as Nice, which has been up and running since February, has attracted a 'phenomenal' response from the community, said centre manager Sue Follan.

Sue also praised the work of the volunteers who strip, paint and varnish items ready for sale.

She said: “It's great because it's something they can see through from start to finish and that really gives them confidence and social skills.

“They get references from us, and it could even lead to some of our volunteers becoming self-employed or starting their own businesses.”

Some of the items sold have their own story, Sue added.

“We had a set of cabinets which were really old but very good condition, and we were told they have literally travelled the world form Australia to New York with their previous owners.

“Then there are always interesting things down the backs of sofas. One of our volunteers found a whole lot of bank cards which we returned to the owner.

“You never know what you'll find.”


Weymouth is 'perfect seaside resort'

DESCRIBING Weymouth as a 'perfect seaside resort', Mr Roberts said he would love to film more shows in Dorset.

He said: “We don't come to Dorset very much because there's not many auctions with a wide range of lots.

“But having said that I will be on holiday for two weeks in Wareham Forest this summer so I have told my office that we have to film properties in the West Country.

“It would be great to get more shows in Dorset.”