• South-Shropshire-Furniture-Scheme-1South-Shropshire-Furniture-Scheme-1

Place Category: Communities and Environment

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  • Furniture collection and redistribution over an area of 800sq miles. Delivering accredited training provision through contracts & SLA’s in computer recycling, carpentry, crafts & personal development to a wide range of people including those who are disadvantaged. We have a range of retail outlets including two shops and a warehouse.

  • Address: The Renaissance Centre, 7 - 8 Tower Street,
    Ludlow
    Shropshire
    SY8 1RL
    United Kingdom
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  • Social Impact Statements:

    Social Impact Statements

    The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.

    In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders must submit Social Impact Statements that summarise their headline activities and achievements, helping show how they are striving to make a difference and stand up to scrutiny of purpose as a social enterprise.

     


    1) Improving quality of life for disadvantaged individuals

    The Furniture Scheme seeks to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged people living in southern Shropshire.

    In the last year we have continued to offer a houseful of essential furniture for just £40 to those individuals and families most in need. We are also able to offer a 25% discount on furniture to people in receipt of means tested benefits.

    We work to strengthen communities at our community centres where we facilitate a range of activities including regular community lunches, IT drop in sessions where local people can learn how to get online, create a CV and apply for jobs, fitness classes, training.

    Across our organisation we provide training and volunteering opportunities - particularly for the unemployed. This can help those lacking in confidence to feel more able to start looking for work. Individuals learn new skills and it helps prevent loneliness and mental health issues. People of all ages and backgrounds come together to contribute to the charities core aims and in doing so develop a greater sense of community and mutual support.

    In 2015/16 we have especially focused on people aged between 25 and 55 who are suffering with mental ill health. Our 'Working with Wood' project aims to help those struggling with mental health by offering supported placements in our carpentry workshop. We have a also run a series of workshop aimed a women called 'Women in the workshop' - this has helped women to develop new skills and confidence.

    During 2015/16 we have run the 'Fuel Poverty Fund' which provides emergency grants to people who cannot afford gas and electricity. This is ran alongside a food bank at our Rockspring Community Centre.

    We run the HG enabling Fund which provides grants to those individuals who want to improve their prospects but need help to overcome certain barriers. The fund focusses on the unemployed and those people earning a low income.

    The Furniture Scheme also seeks to protect the environment and increase environmental sustainability. This is achieved through reuse and recycling and we encourage people to avoid sending items to landfill.

     


    2) Key measures of activity

    • 40 households have received furniture referral packages worth between £550 and £1500 each
    • 1,337 items were sold at the discounted rate to those in receipt of benefits
    • 53 people living in social housing have loaned garden equipment from our community centres
    • 132 young people have taken part in holiday schemes and youth activities at our centres
    • More than 33,000 people have used our community centres and accessed community activities and services
    • 120 people completed training - 108 went into volunteering over 12 months, of these 25 went into employment

     


    3) Benefits for service users

    We are working to apply a value to our outputs and hope to have this within the next few months. We have numerous case studies that demonstrate how people have benefitted from the services we provide. Some examples of case studies relating to Rockspring Community Centre are shown below:

    Ben came to the Rockspring Centre as a volunteer having been referred by County Training, a local employment support agency. Ben left school in 2013 and had been unable to secure regular training or employment. Ben is 3rd generation unemployed.

    Following 3 months as a volunteer Ben was offered an apprenticeship in business administration with the Furniture Scheme. At the end of his apprenticeship he will be offered full time employment as a General Assistant and Receptionist at Rockspring Community Centre.


     

    Jane had stopped working in order to care for her elderly mother. Following the death of her mother she wanted to return to the workplace but was lacking confidence and felt her skills were out of date.

    Jane received support from the IT Tutor who helped her with the internet for job searches, Word, Excel, file management etc. Jane attended classes regularly and became much more confident.
    Jane has now secured work at a local supermarket.


     

    AB volunteers in the kitchen at Rockspring having been referred from Enable, a supported employment service for people with disabilities. AB lives at home and is supported by her parents. During her time as a volunteer, with support from staff and the other volunteers, her self confidence has really increased. When she first came along she was extremely nervous and very quiet and needed constant supervision with any task.

    She is now confident in all aspects of her role as kitchen assistant from laying out places, serving meals, clearing away and using the dishwasher. While coming to the centre AB has also used the IT facilities culminating in applying for, and securing part time paid employment.


     

    Paul had been out of work for 18 months after suffering a work related injury. Rockspring became a life line for him as his profession is IT.

    Paul was able to come into Rockspring daily to use the computers to study and keep his skills up to date. He was suffering from low self esteem and had got stuck in the benefits system. He was able to use the computers and phones to look and apply for jobs.

    With the help of Rockspring staff, who gave him encouragement and motivation (a you can do it, you are good enough approach) he went on to secure a £36,000 a year job in IT working on the Prime Ministers Challenge Fund and helping to set up the 7 day a week GP access service in the county of Herefordshire.