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Charities and social enterprises in the UK continue to step up to support households in need

1.55 million households in the UK were helped by reuse charities and social enterprises in 2018. This is just one of the benefits of reuse shown in the Reuse Network Social Impact Report 2018 which is published today (Friday 23 November) to coincide with Buy Nothing New day, the ethical alternative to Black Friday.

Reuse charities and social enterprises, reused 3.5 million furniture and electrical items last year supporting people access affordable household items in the UK. Accessing reused furniture and electrical goods has produced £448 million worth of savings for customers compared to buying items new.

Craig Anderson, Reuse Network CEO says: “The last 12 months have been difficult for many reuse organisations, as we received reports of charities closing their doors due to financial constraints. In spite of this, the reuse sector has stepped up to ensure that households continue to access affordable furniture and electrical items.

“Our commercial partners, including John Lewis & Partners, IKEA and Dixons Carphone are instrumental in supporting members of the Reuse Network and their beneficiaries in accessing good quality items at affordable prices thanks to donations and takeback schemes.”

In addition to diverting 3.5 million items in the last year to households in need, the reuse sector supported over 52,700 people are supported through volunteering, training and work placements and employed around 5,500 people part-time and full-time.

Craig Anderson says: “Our members go far beyond the provision of reused household items, they become a hub for their communities in providing key services and support networks”.

The environment impact of reused furniture in 2017/18 has allowed 120,270 tonnes of household items to be diverted from landfill and saved 129,250 tonnes of CO2 emissions. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) report published yesterday (Thursday 22 November) proposing price caps on credit charges for
rent-to-own goods is welcomed progress in protecting those more at risk of debt and financial crisis.

The Reuse Network works to ensure that no-one is without a bed to sleep on, a cooker to cook on, or a sofa to sit on, wherever they live in the UK.

For more information about the Reuse Network and to find your local reuse charity, please go to reuse-network.org.uk

ENDS –

For further information contact:
Claire Charras
claire.charras@reuse-network.org.uk
0117 954 3578
0772 6358 243

Notes to the editors:

  • The Reuse Network (formerly the Furniture Re-use Network) supports reuse charities across the UK to help them alleviate poverty, reduce waste and tackle climate change.
  • Craig Anderson, Reuse Network CEO is available for interview.
  • For the Reuse Network it is reuse that provides an answer to the UK’s serious waste problem – turning it into a solution for the alleviation of poverty instead. By shifting behavioural attitudes of the public and corporations and using innovative schemes such as retail take-back scheme and supporting product stewardship, the Reuse Network is a game-changer in putting the circular economy into motion.
  • The Reuse Network Social Impact Report 2018 can be accessed from https://reuse-network.org.uk/charities-and-social-enterprises-in-the-uk-continue-to-step-up-to-support-households-in-the-need from Friday 23 November.
  • Images are available to use and download here and to credit the Reuse Network.
  • Buy Nothing New day is an initiative set-up by the Reuse Network, encouraging the public to swap Black Friday for Buy Nothing New day and shop at their local reuse charity.

Meet Rob!

Rob Gardner

Continuing our celebration of volunteers and staff at the Furniture Scheme this month we would like you to say hello to Rob!

Rob Gardner worked at Rockspring for many years before The Furniture Scheme took the building over, so he really is part of the furniture here.

He started as a part-time caretaker, now he is in demand as our general caretaker and assistant overseeing maintenance – he is our ‘go to guy’.

His generous nature and willingness to always be available to help out means he lends a hand wherever he is needed, if there is a staff shortage or emergency situation. Rob kindly took over cooking the community lunch at Rockspring every Thursday when the previous volunteer stopped.

So, get to know Rob…

My background: I have held various roles over the years. I’ve worked at JP Wood & Sons, the turkey factory in Craven Arms, as a farm hand and a steel erector. I started as a caretaker at Rockspring when I moved to Ludlow after getting married.

What my job involves: Essentially, I ensure that all the sites are running well and there are no maintenance problems. I also open up and close the building regularly and book outside contractors for major repair jobs. I usually have a tool belt on and I’m not adverse to getting stuck in with the gardening too – I maintain the grass cutting.

Regular questions I get: Can you do this please? Is the most regular question I get! Or rather, it’s not a question, more of a ‘Rob will do that’. I get alerted about all the issues that need fixing, light bulbs replacing and stock needs purchasing. It is really fulfilling to know that the social enterprise is running well and helping as many people as it can.

A typical day for me: There isn’t really a typical day for me. I have a big list of things to do and I work through it, whenever I find an hour to spare, across all the Furniture Scheme sites.

I work in the warehouse a couple of days a week, I clean the bookshop at Renaissance and also the Sure Start and Baptist Church which neighbour Rockspring too.

But every Thursday I cook the community lunch, so generally a Thursday goes like this:

8am – Arrive at Rockspring, open up and make sure it is clean and tidy.

9am – Tick a few odd jobs off my list if I can and then start laying out the tables for the community lunch.

10am – Begin preparing and cooking lunch for up to 30 people.

12pm – Serve the community lunch.

1pm – Complete the community lunch and begin the tidy up.

2:15pm – Head to Renaissance and fix some book shelves and anything else the needs doing.

3:15pm – Call in at the workshop to complete another job which has been on my list to do.

4pm – Finish for the day.

Something I am proud of since starting at The Furniture Scheme: I’m proud of the way the job and the social enterprise has enabled me to learn new skills to improve the range of things I can do here, it has given me more strings to my bow. Thanks to an award from the Enabling Fund which paid for me to learn to drive, I passed my test and that is what originally helped me become a valued full-time member of staff across all the sites. And just this month I have finished training in PAT testing so I am now able to go and do that at the workshop too.

An interesting fact about me: I have played darts for many years and once beat professional player Terry ‘The Bull’ Jenkins (who was once world number 4) at an event in Leominster.

The Furniture Scheme was launched over 20 years ago as a way to ensure some of the most excluded members of the community could benefit from recycled household items – but the society has grown and now offers computer courses, carpentry workshops and volunteering in the garden, among other things.

Anyone who would like more information about The Furniture Scheme should call 01584 874922, email info@furniturescheme.co.uk or visit http://www.furniturescheme.co.uk.
Ends.

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