The Furniture Recycling Project give new life to furniture and support volunteers, and won the Corporate Social Responsibility Award at the Gloucestershire Business Awards. Here’s what they did to stand out to the judges.
Key business points:
- Furniture Recycling Project (FRP) is a charity which was established in 1996.
- FRP reuse items which would otherwise be sent to landfill, offer meaningful volunteering opportunities and provide good-quality, affordable household items.
- Original shop in the centre of Gloucester, and another in Lydney, in the Forest of Dean, which opened in 2019.
The winning entry:
For FRP, Corporate Social Responsibility isn’t an ‘add-on’, it’s central to what they do and how it conducts itself as a business.
FRP reuse items that would otherwise be sent to landfill, offer volunteering opportunities to those furthest from employment and potentially preventing hard-up households from falling into debt. This benefit is threefold: excellent for the wellbeing of volunteers, the vitality of communities and the health of environment.
The charity brings the ethos of recycling, and the confidence that comes with learning new skills to those who would benefit most. Their strategy is to open-up volunteering and work experience opportunities to harder to reach groups and to dedicate more time to ensuring that placements are rewarding and worthwhile for all.
Last year FRP supported 80 volunteers, who are offered references when they leave, and where appropriate certificates, to show the qualifications they have gained.
Volunteers can refer themselves, though many come through recommendation of partner organisations including; Adult Education in Gloucestershire, GARAS, Star College, NHS 2gether and The Nelson Trust.
They have recently introduced more structured training opportunities, including accredited courses in PAT testing, Warehousing and Retail. Several of those from their first cohort have gone on to gain paid employment.
You can understand why FRP won The Queen’s Award for Volunteering last year, the charitable equivalent of an MBE, and they were also finalists for the Prince of Wales Award.
With both climate change and poverty continuing to be issues of a pressing nature for our communities, FRP exists to tackle both, saving over 250,000 tonnes of reuse furniture since their inception.