Furniture recycling, re-use and employment…

cirencester furniture bank - furniture recycling, re-use and employment

Cirencester Furniture Bank is a local furniture recycling project which has been set up to support the District in three ways. Everything we do is to fulfill at least one of these aims.

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1. Furniture recycling

Our aim is to help the public recycle furniture they no longer need and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. We provide a simple, easy furniture recycling service to help the public re-use their unwanted furniture and reduce the amount which goes to landfill.

We currently live in a throwaway society where out of convenience we throw away items we don’t need or want anymore but don’t really know what else to do with them. Waste think tank RSA recently reported that 1.6 million tonnes of bulky waste (waste which does not fit into a conventional bin), 42% of which is furniture, is sent to landfill each year. 50% of this they deem to be re-usable. This equates to 336,000 tonnes of re-usable furniture which is being sent straight to landfill. That is the equivalent weight of 336,000 Ford Fiesta cars!

When the furniture arrives at our warehouse, we will aim to recycle as much furniture possible by distributing them out to families in the District or sell it to raise funds.

In 2016/2017 our furniture recycling project saved 86 tonnes from landfill (this is the equivalent of 86 Ford Fiesta cars!). This may not seem much of a dent in the 336,000 tonnes which needs to be saved nationally, however, our aim for 2017/18 is to double this and keep making small inroads into changing the public perception and attitude towards furniture re-use.

Cirencester Furniture Bank is committed to furniture recycling, with our ultimate goal being to help the public recycle 100% of their unwanted furniture. We want to make re-using and recycling your unwanted furniture easy and simple.

We will collect from a variety of locations in the Cirencester area including, but not exclusively, Cirencester, Tetbury, Ampney Crucis, Sapperton, South Cerney, Kemble, Malmesbury and the surrounding areas. Book a collection here.

2. Furniture re-use – not just furniture recycling…

A recent survey on poverty in the UK found out that 14 million people can’t afford one or more, essential household goods and 26% of adults can’t afford to replace or repair broken electrical items.

Here at the Cirencester Furniture Bank, we want to put an end to this. Our furniture recycling project provide low cost subsidised furniture and white goods to families and individuals in the District who otherwise cannot afford quality furniture. We are linked with statutory bodies and charities in the District and operate on a referrer only basis so we know we are helping those most in need of help. People can access amazing quality, low price furniture only through our referral process so we know we are helping the most in need.

Many people believe not possessing essential furniture is something exclusive to the developing world, however the truth is that there are too many people in the UK living without the furniture they need or are only one wage packet away from entering furniture poverty and do not have the savings they need to replace a fridge freezer or bed if they needed to.

We deliver direct to the client’s door, this is because the most vulnerable do not have access to transport which would enable them to purchase furniture from the high street.

We are also here to provide an alternative to Bright House and other payday loan companies who target people with limited funds in need of furniture. We are here to help families and individuals not get in debt when they buy furniture.

In the past year, our furniture recycling project has furnished new properties for Syrian refugee families who have moved into the Stroud and Cirencester areas.

In the year 2016/17, our furniture recycling project has helped 400 families in the Stroud and Cirencester District with essential furniture items. The most requested items were beds and mattresses and chest of drawers.

If we are donating furniture which cannot be distributed to these families we sell it on to raise vital funds for the project and also provide employment.  

3. Employment in Cirencester and surrounding area

The aim of our Cirencester Furniture Bank is to provide flexible employment and training opportunities for local people who need a break and sometimes need more support in their work. Many of the staff who currently work at with our furniture recycling project, for various reasons, have not been able to hold down full-time jobs in other employment. We are committed to providing apprenticeships and up-skilling for our workers and want to create an environment where our workers have space to thrive in all areas of their lives, as well as their career progression. We have a full-time member of staff whose job is to look after the welfare of our staff and provide them support outside of work if they need it.  

We now have seven members of staff, four of these who were NEETs (not in education, employment or training). As we grow we want to open up many more employment opportunities, full-time work, but also flexible work for those who cannot for various reasons undertaken full-time work, such as single parents.

As well as providing paid employment we also want to set up services which help the long-term unemployed get back into work. We provide short-term job placements alongside our van drivers. At the moment, we are working with the Police and Crime Commissioner to offer a 12-week work placement for young guys and girls who are reforming themselves after making bad choices.  

Our furniture recycling project is linked to the Grace Network, a local social enterprise which has the aim of providing meaningful employment opportunities for those who find it hard securing and holding long term jobs.