A CHARITY shop which provided furniture for people who were ‘struggling’ has closed down.

Darwen Churches Furniture Store was forced to shut up shop after its funding ran out.

Site manager Mike Gerrard described the closure as a ‘great shame’.

The store opened in September last year in response to the closure of Blackburn with Darwen Churches Action, which recycled and repaired old furniture to give to people on low incomes.

Darwen Churches Furniture Store ran from Ellenshaw Mill in Kay Street and employed five people including Mr Gerrard.

It offered customers three basic items for £20 and would collect used furniture and domestic appliances for redistribution to those who could not afford to buy new.

Mr Gerrard said the shop had tried to secure funding to continue the service but due to the current economic climate and competition from other charities it had folded.

Mr Gerrard said: “The funds have run out and unfortunately we haven’t been able to secure any more funding.

“A total of five jobs have gone including administration staff and delivery drivers.

“There was a grant passed over from the old organisation and it just didn’t last long enough for the next round of funding.

“We are disappointed. We have served a lot of people very well. And there are a lot of people who have established themselves in their homes that would not have done if we hadn’t have been here.

“It is a great shame. We aimed our service at people with very little and it’s those people who will struggle.

“The landlord has been very, very good to us. He has let us empty the buildings.

“We have good friends at the town hall, unfortunately they weren’t able to help us with the financial situation.

“It is a sign of the times.”