JAMES Arbuthnot has praised a community project which has helped thousands of families.

The Fleet MP visited the Lions Community Store in Basingbourne Road, Fleet, on a fact-finding mission.

Beverley Allardice and her team of volunteers told him how they collect and sort unwanted furniture and household items before distributing them to those in need.

He was amazed at the number and range of items handed out so far, including 5,000 beds and a similar number of three-piece suites, cookers, fridges and freezers.

The beds and suites would have cost more than £1million when new.

Donations from Fleet Lions and other organisations help run the store but volunteers have to struggle in difficult conditions.

Over the Christmas period they were flooded twice and are having to turn items away due to a lack of storage space.

Anyone who wants to donate furniture can contact the Community Store on 01252 616998.