To tell you about *BESOM* if you are fed up with freecycle?

(64 Posts)
GuffSmuggler Tue 30-Jul-13 15:41:00

I have read a few threads on here recently about people being fed-up with the rude grabby people on freecycle and I would like to direct you to if you have stuff you want to get rid of and would like it to go to a good home.

This is from their website:

Many of us have good quality things that we do not use or need and local Besoms provide a service that enables you to pass them on to people who really need them. Those who are re-housed are often given flats with absolutely nothing in them. Those escaping domestic violence may have to leave all their possessions behind. Through a network of contacts in social services, charities, refuges and family centres, The Besom constantly hears about people living on the edge. We are then able to match up the things given with the needs we hear about.

If you have good quality items you wish to give away, your local Besom would love to receive them. We can pass them on immediately to vulnerable people who really need them. These include women escaping domestic violence, homeless people, refugees, families or individuals living in extreme poverty

They collect stuff and are the nicest bunch of people making a real difference to the needy in their communities. They aren't everywhere, but if you click on the local besom link you will find if there is one near you.

<Disclaimer: I am not associated with them, I just think they are amazing!>

farrowandbawl Tue 30-Jul-13 15:43:30

Oh bloody hell....they could have had my old TV that I've just taken to the dump. I couldn't give it away anywhere because it was an old fat one.

caramelwaffle Tue 30-Jul-13 15:47:09

That looks rather excellent.

We should try and keep this bumped.

caramelwaffle Tue 30-Jul-13 15:48:03

Rather excellent? Hark at me grin

GuffSmuggler Tue 30-Jul-13 15:49:02


RenterNomad Tue 30-Jul-13 16:57:42

How do they store things, though? When I tried to give maternity and baby stuff to Women's Aid, they couldn't accept it, as there was no storage! sad

Osmiornica Tue 30-Jul-13 17:08:04

I found that too RenterNomad. I have a few things but they aren't suitable according to the website which is a shame - I have a tv, freeview box and dvd player.

chocoluvva Tue 30-Jul-13 17:17:10

The Prince of Wales Hospice charity shops do this too (or used to).

Also you can advertise on Gumtree for someone to take-away no-longer needed things.

chocoluvva Tue 30-Jul-13 17:18:26

Posted too soon - Besom sounds great too.

meganorks Tue 30-Jul-13 17:20:55

They don't have one near me which is surprising as live in a big city.

GuffSmuggler Tue 30-Jul-13 18:22:09

renter the one near us has a big storage facility so can take lots of big things.

osmior yes I think they have problems with some electrical stuff as it needs to be tested/made safe but I know they have taken white goods.

eccentrica Tue 30-Jul-13 19:47:31

I've checked out their website. It's a bit disingenuous of you not to mention that they are a religious Christian charity.

I am one of the people who is a bit sick of Freecycle, however as I am not a Christian I won't be donating to this organisation.

hiddenhome Tue 30-Jul-13 19:52:11

what's the matter with being a Christian? We don't eat children or torture puppies you know confused

eccentrica Tue 30-Jul-13 19:56:40

hidden as I said, it's disingenuous not to mention it. I've noticed that often happens, Christian organisations are often not upfront and you have to do a bit of digging to find out that they are in fact heavily religious.

I have even donated to charities in the past without realising they were specifically Christian.

Don't you think people should be given the full picture before deciding whether or not to support a cause?

hiddenhome Tue 30-Jul-13 20:02:14

You're prejudiced. It obviously states on their website that they're a Christian organisation.

You shouldn't be talking to me now because I'm Christian hmm

AwkwardSquad Tue 30-Jul-13 20:02:26

Does it matter if they are a Faith-based organisation? Surely they are just doing what Christians are supposed to do according to the tenets of their faith? As long as they are not discriminatory re the people they are willing to help, I'd happily donate, as I have done to local faith organisations that help others. I am an atheist.

On another note, the name 'besom' made me laugh. I grew up in Scotland and was frequently called a 'cheeky wee besom' by my teachers.

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:11:17

What's wrong with it being Christian?

Food banks tend to be run by the Church. It looks interesting and I have quite a bit of stuff to get rid of.

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:13:53

I've even been known to donate to the Salvation Army when they play their tunes.

eccentrica Tue 30-Jul-13 20:25:02

hidden No, I'm quite happy to talk to Christians. I'm sorry if you can't see the difference between talking to someone and giving them money.

Many Christians have views that I'm not comfortable with, such as being anti-abortion, anti-semitic and homophobic. Of course this doesn't apply to every Christian, but there is enough correlation that I personally choose to donate my money to non-religious charities.

Incidentally, it doesn't "clearly state on their website that they are a Christian organisation". But I was more pointing out that the OP of this thread hadn't mentioned anywhere that it's a religious organisation.

I wonder how many posting here have donated to Jewish, Muslim or Hindu charities? Or would that seem a bit weird?

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:27:33

But they are using the donations for good. Not to support Christianity.
If there was an active Muslim charity who were doing good for the community, I would donate.

eccentrica Tue 30-Jul-13 20:31:53

But kim the thing is, with religious organisations of any sort they are very unlikely to use the donations for good in a way which is totally uninfluenced by religion.

For example, many religious charities would not support a homosexual couple in need, in the same way they would support a heterosexual family. Or help a woman to get access to emergency contraception. Or any number of other examples. if they did, there would be objections that they were going against the morality and beliefs of their own religion.

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:36:22

I can see that. I just hope people are better than that and don't judge when supporting people in need.

Maybe I'm naive.

hiddenhome Tue 30-Jul-13 20:36:44


tulipsgirl77 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:45:02

This looks amazing. I've been trying to find a home for my DD's baby clothes, this looks perfect and they have one near me!

I don't have an ounce of religious blood in my body, and frankly I don't care they are a religious organisation, surely this has to be more about helping people less fortunate than us rather than turning this into a tirade against all that's wrong with the church.

redlac Tue 30-Jul-13 20:45:43

Mmm don't think they took account of what besom means in Scotland

(biz·um) Dialect, chiefly Scot -n.
1. obstreperous girl or woman; female upstart (as in “Dinnae pou’ yer brither’s hair, ya wee besom“)
2. woman of low moral standing; a hussy (“Thon yin’s a right mucky besom“).
3. a broomstick or scourge; any broom made from loose twigs

GuffSmuggler Tue 30-Jul-13 20:48:13

eccentrica I'm sorry you felt I should have mentioned it was set up by Christians but it just doesn't seem relevant to me. They give to the needy in the community irrespective of what those people's beliefs are (I have checked and they confirmed this).

Quite frankly I couldn't care if it was Muslims, Hindus or Jews that set it up, it's a brilliant idea that benefits the poor in society where the local services are falling down.

Alternatively you can keep giving your stuff to the greedy freeloaders are freecycle, it's completely up to you!

GuffSmuggler Tue 30-Jul-13 20:51:12

Ha rediac that's funny! "female upstart'!? confused

giraffesCantWearSuncream Tue 30-Jul-13 20:53:00

I thought that too redlac grin

I thought the OP meant we were all to share our stories of besoms on freecycle!!

giraffesCantWearSuncream Tue 30-Jul-13 20:53:48

I am not religious at all. But used to volunteer for a christian charity - because I liked what they were doing.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 30-Jul-13 20:58:08

I'm inclined to agree with eccentrica

MikeOxard Tue 30-Jul-13 21:15:09

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha <breathes> hahahahahahahahahahahahahah aaaaaaaaaaaaah. So a lot of Christians are anti-Semitic are they? [No, no they really aren't] You must know that Jesus was Jewish?! That (plus the other nonsense about such a charity not helping people in need) really is the silliest and rudest thing I've heard in a long time. Get a grip. Maybe you should talk to someone about your issues or just educate yourself.

Besom looks fab.

eccentrica Tue 30-Jul-13 21:19:52

Guff "I'm sorry you felt I should have mentioned it was set up by Christians but it just doesn't seem relevant to me. They give to the needy in the community irrespective of what those people's beliefs are (I have checked and they confirmed this)."

When did you check? Do you mean you were concerned enough to ring them up or email them to ask? So presumably you too have reservations about religious charities? In which case, why not mention in your OP - they're Christian but I specifically checked with them... etc. ?

Seems very odd to say that on the one hand it "doesn't seem relevant", but on the other hand you went to the trouble of checking?

Why keep it secret?

"Alternatively you can keep giving your stuff to the greedy freeloaders are freecycle, it's completely up to you!"

Er, there are plenty of non-religious charities out there to choose from. A local furniture reuse group are coming to collect my sofabed (previously advertised on freecycle) tomorrow afternoon. There's also the British Heart Foundation, Help the Aged, my local hospice, and many others i'm sure, which are NOT run by a specific religion. I suspect that many people, like me, would prefer to give to non-religious charities.

incidentally the charity I donated to without knowing it was Christian was Camphill Communities. I saw their leaflet and it looked like great work. It was only when I got a letter thanking me for my donation that I realised they were a religious organisation. I was not happy at all as I would much rather have donated to a similar but non-religious organisation.

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 21:23:24

I didn't think it was that secret.
Just a look at the front page and it yells religion.

GuffSmuggler Tue 30-Jul-13 21:28:00

It doesn't seem relevant to me, I was just chatting to the lady that picked up some furniture about it and she explained how they worked and that they got referrals through various people such as social services and helped people irrespective of faith/values.

There is no conspiracy here I assure you, I just think they do a fab job!

I'm fed up with freecycle and have had trouble with some of the other organisations you mention picking stuff up but have found these people more than helpful.

enpanne Tue 30-Jul-13 21:30:19

Sounds very good in theory, just like freecycle sounds very good in theory. If you think this is any less open to 'grabby' people and things going to those who don't really need them you are naive. It's just the same thing except by proxy, so you're relying on somebody else to decide who to 'help' rather than doing it yourself.

kinkyfuckery Tue 30-Jul-13 21:33:59

Mmm don't think they took account of what besom means in Scotland

(biz·um) Dialect, chiefly Scot -n.
1. obstreperous girl or woman; female upstart (as in “Dinnae pou’ yer brither’s hair, ya wee besom“)
2. woman of low moral standing; a hussy (“Thon yin’s a right mucky besom“).
3. a broomstick or scourge; any broom made from loose twigs


S'ok, they don't want our shit anyway by the looks of the map wink

eccentrica Tue 30-Jul-13 21:33:59

Guff I wasn't accusing you of anything dastardly - I just think if you publicly recommend a charity to donate to, it's only right to give people the full picture.

Mike leaving aside the incredible rudeness and immaturity of your post, with its pathetic references to "my issues", and responding to its content for the sake of anyone else reading the thread:

I am Jewish (not by religion - I am an atheist - but by birth and upbringing), and was in a relationship with a C of E vicar's son for 10 years. My current partner writes and researches on Christianity in its historic and cultural context, so er yeah, I do actually know a fair bit about the history of Christianity, its current manifestations in the UK and beyond, and in particular relations between Christians and Jews. Er yeah, I may perhaps know that Jesus was Jewish and are you seriously claiming that you think that means there has never been any antisemitism in the Church? I suggest you educate yourself a fair bit more about the history of antisemitism in the Church, and perhaps have a look into contemporary Christianity, before you patronise me on this subject again.

fabergeegg Tue 30-Jul-13 22:01:25

They have a cross in the logo. How could it be anymore obvious?

giraffesCantWearSuncream Tue 30-Jul-13 22:06:16

Sorry I can't stop sniggering at the word besom.

How do they pronounce it?

"She is a cheeky wee besom"

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Tue 30-Jul-13 22:07:21

Seriously, eccentrica, you now regret giving something to an organisation that did some good with it, because they are religious? And you would rather have not given it specifically for that reason? It's you who is sounding prejudiced. The stroke to your ego of aligning yourself with particular viewpoints seems to be more important than the end result of giving to charity. It's not all about you.

ElephantsEye Tue 30-Jul-13 22:14:13

'Besom' should be pronounced "bizz'm" with the emphasis on the first syllable.

How else would you pronounce it? bee-som? b'sommmm? beee-s'm? <obviously bored>

eccentrica Tue 30-Jul-13 23:11:36

Snazzy ?? Of course it's not "all about me" but I hardly think I'm unusual in wanting to give my (limited) donations to organisations whose ethos I support.

As I said above, it's not abstract "aligning with viewpoints" but has real practical consequences. With an organisation which provides pastoral care I don't want to be (for example) supporting them to deliver an anti-abortion or anti-contraception message.

I don't exactly regret donating in the sense that I hope the money was spent on something worthwhile. However, as I said above, had I known that it was a religious organisation I would have chosen to donate to a similar but non-religious cause.

I agree that Besom's website makes it fairly obvious but that wasn't the case with the charity I donated to,and it wasn't mentioned in the OP of ths thread when it was recommended. I think it's only fair to potential donators to give the full picture. Many Christians would not want to donate to either a different religion's charity, or (perhaps more so) to a charity such as Marie Stopes or Brook, even though they do lots of good work.

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 23:15:24

I don't see why the OP needed to mention it. Perfectly obvious from the website.

fabergeegg Wed 31-Jul-13 00:08:33

All hopelessly hypersensitive about that kind of thing on mumsnet.

TheFantasticFixit Wed 31-Jul-13 00:21:01

There is something really revolting about your debate eccentrica. I would imagine that those benefiting, or hoping to benefit, from such a charity would wish that they had the luxury of such a debate. Give or don't give. J think it is marvellous that these Christians (who, by the way, are not all zealots) have chosen to take time to set up a service such as this to benefit the poorest, or most desperate in society.

How is the view up there in your ivory tower, Eccentrica?

TheFantasticFixit Wed 31-Jul-13 00:21:33

Thank you OP for raising awareness of this charity. I'm going to donate.

Sunnysummer Wed 31-Jul-13 00:29:52

Thank you OP! Will bypass freecycle next time around...

LittleNoona Wed 31-Jul-13 00:30:59

Thanks for posting this! Didn't know anything about them at all and turns out there's one very local to me!

Will definitely donate and perhaps volunteer

Msbluebozooka Wed 31-Jul-13 01:07:01

Eccentrica get a grip !!! Christan, Hindu , Muslim, Jewish who gives a flying fuck!! At the end of the day it's not about politics it's about charity!
People in needddd !!
When you put your hand in your purse and pass a pound to cancer research do I ask the person holding the box what they believe in?

Thank you OP, I've got some baby stuff to donate & was wondering how to give it to someone who was actually in need.

Astounded by the fact that someone wouldn't donate stuff to someone in need because the people passing it to them was Christian!

I agree with Eccentrica and think that she puts forward totally reasonable views as to why it might have been good to say it was a religious organisation. Most people use various bits of information to decide which charities they are going to support and religion may or may not be one of them.

HilaryM Wed 31-Jul-13 07:39:31

And another agreeing with eccentrica. I never donate money or goods to religious charities.

Also snorting at the name. What were they thinking??

Anthracite Wed 31-Jul-13 07:51:10

Our local Besom is amazing. Not only do they collect and redistribute "stuff", they also clear, clean, redecorate.

They help with benefits applications and will tide people over with food while waiting for the money to come through.

Although clients have to be referred, the service they get is personal, loving and non-bureaucratic.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Wed 31-Jul-13 09:56:35

eccentric so, the organisation that you donated to that with hindsight you wish you hadn't - what do they do, or what policies do they have, that you disagree with? I assume there are, as you said 'practical consequences' to supporting them that you have a problem with?

I ask this because if people are saying they don't donate to religious charities because they assume they will be homophobic etc, then they are making sweeping assumptions which may not be true. It is as wrong to make those assumptions about any religiously-orientated organisation as it would be about any individual. Of course if people have done their research and find that an organisation endorses something very much at odds with their personal beliefs, then they should not give them money - for instance, many people support animal charities but only the ones that have a policy of not putting healthy animals down. But I doubt that that is the case with a lot of people: I think it comes down to people being happy to make assumptions about religious charities that they wouldn't like made about them.

To those posters saying you don't support religious charities: I expect you all do your research before donating to make sure of this, right? In which case, why are you complaining that the OP didn't do it for you? If it's that important, surely you'll take the trouble to find out for yourself...

Back on topic - I hadn't heard of Besom before this thread came up. There is one a little way away from me but not very very close - but I'll keep on eye on whether they open any more branches.

DeWe Wed 31-Jul-13 10:57:00

Besom are excellent. We've given them various stuff including a fridge, freezer and washing machine (moved into a house with them, having already got our own and the next people didn't want them). They came to collect it in their (the volunteers) own car too-which they don't get even expenses given.

I've also contributed to a new baby packet. They ask you to pack everything in a baby bath or moses basket, and you put a mixture of baby stuff including a treat for the mother. These sometimes are the only new things people get for their baby.

In this area they are also connected with a household "help" network. So they have a list of plumbers, electricians, gas men, decorators, car maintenance etc. All professionals who are prepared to give their time and experience for a mimimal price (Last time I looked they got £5 to cover expenses)-the charity pays for spare parts etc. needed too.

I also know people who have received. They come from various different religions and none, and various different circumstances, including-shock horror-same sex relationships. They give to those who need regardless.

It seems strange to say you wouldn't donate because the people running it are Christians who hence must have prejudices. You in fact are expressing a prejudice yourself about people you don't know.

eccentrica Wed 31-Jul-13 12:56:02

DeWe again, don't want to keep repeating myself but no, I am not prejudiced. It is not prejudice to choose not to donate to charities whose ethos you fundamentally disagree with. I asked above if Christians would be happy to donate to Brook or Marie Stopes for e.g. their excellent work advising young people and providing contraception and counselling - no one has responded to this. I'm aware that church, synagogue, mosque organisations can do excellent work but I and many others would still prefer to donate to the many non-religious organisations out there.

Msbluebozooka that's a really silly question, when you put money in a Cancer Research tin you are donating to Cancer Research, not the individual holding the tin.

Snazzy "eccentric so, the organisation that you donated to that with hindsight you wish you hadn't - what do they do, or what policies do they have, that you disagree with? I assume there are, as you said 'practical consequences' to supporting them that you have a problem with?"

Snazzy, the organisation I donated to was Camphill Communities who run communities for people with learning difficulties and of course provide extensive pastoral care as part of that remit. I don't know exactly how they would treat a member of their community who was gay, or needed an abortion, and obviously I don't have the time or resources to investigate how every single aspect of their organisation works.

My knowledge of Christian and Jewish charities is that they are often not able to provide that kind of support as it goes against what they most deeply believe. they are likely to be staffed by individuals who cannot support those examples as it would in their eyes be against God's will.

They also are likely to include prayer and a promotion of Christian belief as part of their activities. I am personally not comfortable with the idea of funding people to promote beliefs I don't share, especially to people with learning difficulties. That is not prejudice.

The impossibility of knowing every detail of how every organisation works is precisely why it is more realistic to make a decision based on the fundamental values of a charity - what belief system is the charity ultimately built on?

Similarly not everyone has the time/resources/inclination to research every charity which is why I think everything should be as upfront as possible so people can make informed choices.

I think I've said everything I can possibly say on this subject, I know I'm not alone in thinking this so I will politely bow out of this thread now.

Anthracite Wed 31-Jul-13 12:58:32

The ethos of Besom is to help people in need. What's not to agree with?

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Wed 31-Jul-13 13:09:00

There's a lot of 'are likely to' in that post, (of eccentrica's) and a lot of unpleasant assumptions. I would have to wonder how many secular organisations have people working for them who are homophobic, anti-choice and so on in their dealings with people. I bet there would be a comparable number. Yet no such concerns exist there.

My experience of religious charities has been quite different, and I have found them very willing to help people who are acting, or have acted, in a way that does not align with their own religious beliefs. I have also found that they prefer to preach by example - i.e. demonstrating that they feel it is their duty to help and support people in trouble - rather than attempting to convert people. It's quite sad that their good work goes uncredited because they are deemed on no evidence to be more prejudiced than the average individual you will encounter.

Emilythornesbff Wed 31-Jul-13 13:50:22

Thank you for posting OP.
Like another poster I have just let an old (perfectly working) tv go.
Shame. Wish I'd known about them.

Belchica Wed 31-Jul-13 14:51:33

Thanks OP. I have a room full of things that I wanted to pass on to a good home.

I am astounded at Eccentrica's attitude. Donating to charity is supposed to be a selfless act. Are you still reading Eccentrica? that means it has little or nothing to do with your own interests. Seriously, get rid of the chip on your shoulder and just GIVE!

For the record, I have seen first hand my local Catholic Church supporting gay people in the community and taking an active stand against homophobic behaviour. Christians are able to separate 'sin from sinner' so they can carry on helping people in need alongside their beliefs. Because that is part of what being a Christian is about (when we aren't busy persuading single mums to have abortions and trying to 'turn' gays, of course!).

blue2 Wed 31-Jul-13 15:07:00

This looks like a magnificent cause - thank you for flagging it up, OP.

I'm soon to have to clear out my parents house, so will certainly give them a ring.

Why this thread has to turn into some giant religious argument, Heaven knows! (if you don't like it, don't donate, but don't bother posting either!)

sashh Thu 01-Aug-13 07:06:01

It's a bit disingenuous of you not to mention that they are a religious Christian charity.

No it's not. Had that been in the title I wouldn't have looked. As it is I could quite happily work with them because they are not preaching at the same time as helping.

GiveItYourBestShot Thu 01-Aug-13 07:25:01

Thanks, OP - there are 2 groups near me and I am looking to have a big clearout so perfectly timed.

hesterton Thu 01-Aug-13 07:46:22

Anyone on any principle is quite entitled to choose not to donate to a particular charity. There are plenty of other organisations which cater for the many people in need in our society.

I wouldn't have a problem with this charity but would support the right of another person to boycott it because of its religious basis.

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