The Furniture Recycling Project (FRP), a community recycling scheme based in Gloucestershire, are the latest winners of the Prime Minister's Big Society Award.
The FRP works tirelessly to meet two main objectives; to provide safe, clean and affordable furniture and electrical goods to low income households, and to support and develop local trainees, volunteers and staff in their personal development.
Volunteers and young trainees from the surrounding area help with reconditioning work before making furniture and goods available at affordable prices. Many of the trainees come from Gloucestershire’s most deprived areas and can gain valuable experience and qualifications in construction, business and health and safety through the project.
The charity prides itself on thinking like a business, while making the lives of the community better through its work. Over the past 18 years the charity has grown from relying on three staff and a handful of volunteers, to having the support of 27 employees and over 30 volunteers (alongside 60 local young people every year). This vision has meant the reach of the FRP has grown to benefit many more communities in and around Gloucestershire.
So far FRP has:
- Delivered 12,000 items this year
- Offered training and experience for 60 young people each year
- Recycled 300 tonnes of furniture and electrical goods annually
- It is estimated that FRP saves the council 3000 ‘bulky items’ collections per year
- FRP operate from six sites; two shops in Gloucester and Cheltenham, a training centre, two distribution warehouses and an electrical testing centre.
The Prime Minister said:
I want to congratulate the Furniture Recycling Project on their Big Society Award.
Their commitment to helping the community’s low income families is inspiring; whether that involves providing essential furniture at reasonable prices, or supporting trainees gaining work experience and skills.
It is fantastic to see a charity like this go from strength to strength. I wish them all the best for the future in building Gloucestershire’s recycling enterprise.
Ian Ellis, Chief Executive of the Furniture Recycling Project said:
We are extremely honoured to receive this award from the Prime Minister.
This award is a very much a testament to the hard work and dedication of those involved within FRP over many years, which has enabled us to offer some support to Gloucestershire’s community.
We are only a small part of what is a significant amount of work that goes on within our communities throughout the UK making an important difference to the lives of many.
I hope that this award will have the added benefit for others currently supporting their communities to be recognised and to inspire others in making a difference.
Notes to Editors
On the Furniture Recycling Project
The Furniture Recycling Project (FRP) was formed in 1996 and has now supplied over 170,000 items, including electrical products to the community.
Its shops are situated adjacent to the Bus Station, Gloucester and in Lower High Street, Cheltenham
It offers volunteer opportunities in all areas of its operation and currently provides over 25 volunteer placements per week.
FRP is also one of the major providers of training to the 16-18 year age group in Gloucestershire, offering over 50 training placements per year. Each placement lasts an average of 22 weeks, with over 50% moving in to employment of further education.
For further information, please contact:
Ian Ellis, Chief Executive
Mob: 07725 421942
On the Big Society Awards:
The Big Society Awards were set up by the Prime Minister in November 2010. The aim is to acknowledge individuals and organisations across the UK that demonstrate the Big Society in their work or activities. In so doing, the aim is also to galvanise others to follow.
The award focuses upon three specific areas:
- Promoting social action - people being, and being encouraged to be, be more involved in their communities through giving time, money and other resources.
- Empowering communities - local people taking control of how things are done in their area and being helped to do this by local government and others.
- Opening up public services - public sector organisations and individuals demonstrating innovative ways of delivering public services and charities, social enterprises and private companies showing new ways of delivering public services.
Launching the awards, the Prime Minister said:
There are some amazing projects and remarkable voluntary work going on in towns and cities up and down the country, by all kinds of organisations from large enterprises to tiny grassroots schemes and inspirational individuals.
These awards are a chance to pay tribute to those making a valuable contribution to their community, the real champions of the Big Society, but perhaps more importantly, I hope they will motivate many others to take action, get involved and drive change in their area.
Nominations come in from the general public after which there follows a process of scoring and short-listing by civil servants and a further short-listing by a Panel of Ministers and independent external experts. This Panel makes recommendations to the Prime Minister who makes the final decisions about who to make the award to. Twelve winners are decided each quarter meeting and then announced once a week throughout the year.
There have been 42 winners to date, including:
Digi Steps A social enterprise run by school pupils who wanted to share their internet and computer skills with senior citizens in their area Wotton under Edge Swimming Pool Wotton under Edge Swimming Pool Club, a group of volunteer swimming enthusiasts who mobilised the whole community in support of their local pool
For a full list of winners visit the Big Society Awards website.