Furniture recycler wins award for flood aid

A furniture recycling project which played an important role in helping victims of last summer's floods in Gloucester has scooped a top award.

The Gloucester Furniture Recycling Project won a £2,500 cash prize after taking home the Reuse Project of the Year award at the Furniture Reuse Network’s first President’s Awards.

The project impressed the judging panel with its work in 2007 – a year when it was swamped with demands for second-hand furniture following the floods, and supplied a total of more than 5,000 households with essential furniture.

More than 130 unemployed people were also offered training and volunteering opportunities by the project.

Staff at Starter Packs Glasgow, a charity which provides basic necessities to those moving from homelessness into a new home, were also celebrating after receiving the Award for Innovation and a £1,000 prize.

Richard Featherstone, who founded the Furniture Recycling Network (FRN) 18 years ago and initiated the awards, said: “These awards are to celebrate reuse tackling poverty and unemployment while preventing good furniture going to landfill.

“There is a link between social benefits and waste management which have not yet been fully explored but I predict this will be visible on the Government’s agenda before very long.”

The awards were sponsored by Amaryllis Environmental Services, which presented the trophies at the awards ceremony.

Marketing director Joanna Knight said: “Amaryllis intends to identify an effective way of putting reusable furniture and equipment in the hands of the charity sector.

“We now see a way forward with the FRN to increase our capacity to reuse business waste and derive social benefits.”

Two other nominees for the FRN’s inaugural President’s Awards were Highly Commended by the judges – Tendring Reuse and Employment Enterprise, in Essex, and Lancashire-based Furniture Matters.

Kate Martin

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