The Essential Items

The End Furniture Poverty campaign was launched to research the issue of Furniture Poverty, in order to raise awareness, to educate people about the potential solutions to Furniture Poverty and, ultimately, to ensure that everyone has access to the essential furniture and goods they need to lead a secure life. 

In order to do this with any degree of rigour, it became necessary to establish a benchmark for Furniture Poverty, a way of measuring whether or not a household is living in Furniture Poverty. We set out to compile a list of the essential items – the items that a household needs in order to lead that basic acceptable quality of life, including the social aspects of life. 

End Furniture Poverty launched a consultation in November 2016 with the main objective of assessing how essential different furniture items are, with a view to using this list to help define who is in Furniture Poverty according to whether they own or can access this furniture. The consultation also asked respondents about items that are particularly difficult to access, and which barriers exist to helping those in Furniture Poverty. 


The list of items deemed to be essential is as follows: 

• Bed, bedding and mattress 

• Table and chairs 

• Sofa and/or easy chairs 

• Wardrobe/drawers 

• Carpets in living rooms and bedrooms 

• Curtains or blinds 

• Washing machine 

• Refrigerator and freezer 

• Cooker/oven 

• TV 


The main barriers cited as preventing people in Furniture Poverty from getting the items they needed were: 

Low income – people simply not earning enough or getting enough through their benefits to be able to afford the items they needed 

Funding eligibility – existing sources of financial help having too narrow criteria, meaning that people who needed help were not eligible to apply for it. 

Amount of funding – pots of funding and money, including Local Welfare Provision schemes, are not big enough to help everyone that needs it