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The Furniture Re-use Sector – It’s not just about the Waste

“We’re not just about selling second-hand furniture and diverting it from landfill” said the Furniture Re-use Network (FRN) at its annual conference last week. But it wants and needs more of it.

This was exemplified by the winners of 3 FRN Re-use Awards at its 25th anniversary gala dinner last Thursday evening, who showed that they and many in the sector have diversified into other markets and operations, and deliver enormous social value to individuals, communities and partners.


Re-use Organisation of the Year Re-use Rising Star Approved Re-use Centre of the Year
CREST - Reuse Organisation of the Yea small Revive - Rising Star Award small East Belfast Mission - Most Excellent ARC small
Crest Co-operative in North Wales, won `Re-use Organisation of the Year’ for `the organisation illustrating a high social impact and entrepreneurial spirit in their community’. Revive in Leeds won `Re-use Rising Star’ for `the reuse team that is sharing their enthusiasm and going from strength to strength’. East Belfast Mission won `Approved Re-use Centre of the Year’ that `offers enterprising services through a high quality operation.

The strength of re-use charities and the diversity of their work was echoed by Eric Pickles’ key-note speech at the conference in which he said “You’re more adaptable than local authorities but maybe you’re too polite, just say what you want and take it”.

“The sector is highly adaptable and diverse but give us your waste” says Helen Middleton at FRN; “we need access to more reusable product from waste streams in order to pass on to people in need. We now call upon, if not insist, that local authorities work with the sector. Eric Pickles says we can!”

It's also a great idea - it provides economic as well as social and environmental benefits.



Notes to Editor

The Furniture Re-use Network (FRN) celebrated its 25th year last week (13th & 14th March 2014) at its annual conference in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire; over 170 delegates attended.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – Eric Pickles MP – gave one of the Key Note speeches and applauded not only the social, economic and environmental benefits of its work, but its compassion and humanity too.

The Gala Dinner Awards were sponsored by SITA UK. Awards were presented by Peta Johnson and Steve Robinson of SITA; Matt Campbell – Chair of FRN, Craig Anderson – CEO of FRN, and Richard Featherstone – President of FRN.

Revive is a community interest company made up of three local charities; Emmaus, SLATE and St Vincent de Paul. It won a Leeds City Council tender to run a new purpose-build re-use shop on the Seacroft Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) site in 2011.

Between April and December 2013:

  • 189 tonnes of reusable product has been diverted from landfill.

  • The HWRC re-use shop has generated income of £170,000 from sales of the bric a brac that Leeds residents tried to tip.

  • 2,447 hours contributed by Community Payback volunteers;

  • 8,849 hours contributed by other volunteers


Crest Co-operative works to reduce landfill through reuse to help people in the community. The social enterprise operates two community shops in Colwyn Bay and Llandudno. Crest Co-operative works on behalf of the local authority to collect unwanted furniture and electrical items from homes across the Conwy county. The service is available to 55, 000 residents. They operate a Reuse Hub, where engineers test and repair electrical items.

Profits from the social enterprise are reinvested to fund Crest’s other enterprises, including FareShare North Wales, a food reuse enterprise and Crest’s textile reuse enterprise. Crest Co-operative works to promote social inclusion and its enterprises create work placements for unemployed people, volunteers and adults with learning and physical disabilities. Crest Co-operative supports local schools and runs the Crest Community Fund. Each year £10, 000 is donated to local community groups, to support community activities.


East Belfast Mission (EBM) supports individuals living in one of the most socially deprived areas of Northern Ireland.

In response to this deprivation EBM has developed a range of services over the years to meet the changing needs of children, young people, the homeless, those seeking employment and older people.


This year EBM will generate over 50% of their income through trading activities with surpluses reinvested into services including meals on wheels, homelessness support, community development, counselling and training opportunities.

Within the last eight years the social enterprise department has grown from 2 to 12 shops throughout Northern Ireland, developed a community café, 68 place Children’s Day Nursery and spawned a number of refurbishment and recycling projects.

EBM’s warehouse amenity, council collections and some innovative thinking has enabled the creation of:

  • Refurb: furniture upscaling, refurbishment or stripped down for recycling
  • Recycle: bicycle repair and refurbishment project or stripped down for recycling
  • Rebeebies: collection and sorting of children’s goods and furniture
  • Rekindle: chipping of unwanted wooden palettes collected from building sites to create kindling
  • Repaint: collection and sorting of suitable non-hazardous paint as part of the national Community Repaint scheme
  • Partnership with Bryson Energy to supply white goods to restore outlets


Over 60 of FRN’s members are Approved Re-use Centres. Our Reuse Certification and Registration system is the only one in the UK designed specifically for the quality assurance of reuse operators. It is based on ISO principles plus operational standards and compliance requirements specific to reuse operators. Our auditing and certification covers Management Systems for Quality, Environment and Health & Safety and follows best practice standards for compliance specific to the reuse of products.


For more information:

Helen Middleton, Market Development Manager.

Tel: 07726 358243

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Craig Anderson


Tel: 01179 543564

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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