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Reuse furniture for Scottish Welfare Fund clients

Reuse consortium created to deliver quality, affordable furniture to people in need. 

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A reuse consortium has been created in Scotland to deliver quality, affordable furniture to people in need.

The reuse consortium, created by Community Resources Network Scotland (CRNS), is the first consortium of its kind in Scotland. It changes the way that people in need are given access to furniture.   

CRNS is the national membership network that supports third sector reuse, repair and recycling projects throughout Scotland. It has over 120 members operating in communities within every local authority area, with a combined turnover in excess of £63 million. Its members have at their core a determination to reduce waste and to create real social, environmental and economic benefits at community level. 

The CRNS Reuse Consortium comprises 17 accredited furniture reuse members with CRNS operating as the lead organisation. The consortium is able to support 24 local authority areas in providing 34 key household items through the Reuse Lot on the Scotland Excel Domestic Furniture and Furnishings Framework. This includes all the main household essentials such as beds, sofas, tables and chairs, cookers, fridges and washing machines.

David Wood, CEO of CRNS, said:

“We hope that quality reuse furniture will, over the period of the  contract, begin to be prioritised over new furniture when a decision has been made to support families and individuals in need through the Scottish Welfare Fund.”

CRNS said that the benefits of utilising the Scottish Welfare Fund to provide quality reuse furniture to families and individuals in need from a local authority and a community perspective are “completely logical and quite significant”:

  • The cost to a local authority can be less than if the same items were purchased as new. In a time of financial constraint the fund can be stretched to support more clients, therefore supporting more local families and individuals in need.
  • By purchasing quality reuse furniture from local social enterprises and charities then the local economy can be supported and potentially enhanced. 
  • By purchasing locally, deliveries of reuse furniture can be made to families and individuals in need by local organisations, quickly and efficiently. This is crucial when those requiring furniture perhaps have no bed, cooker or washing machine.  
  • Exposing people on a low income to reuse furniture through the Scottish Welfare Fund, can encourage them to consider reuse options in the future, potentially helping to alleviate poverty by avoiding high street weekly payment stores and pay-day lenders.
  • Local social enterprises will become more self-sustaining, enabling them to thrive and continue to be an integral  part of the local community support network that provides opportunities for employment, volunteering and real support to those that fall outside of the traditional public and private sector employment networks.
  • Enabling the local authority to develop and enhance a more circular approach to the local economy, by encouraging reuse and potentially reducing items going to landfill.

The consortium has developed a simple online ordering system, which enables local authorities to order quality reuse furniture for clients in need and then be invoiced by the reuse organisation that delivers it. This simple system ensures an efficient and affordable service that could transform the way that local authorities deliver quality, affordable reuse furniture to people in need. 

The provision of the Reuse Furniture Lot on the Scotland Excel Framework is a catalyst for real and potentially transformational change that allows local authorities the opportunity to adopt a more efficient and more inclusive approach that can support more vulnerable people in our local communities. In addition, through the CRNS Reuse Consortium, real and potentially long-term local partnerships can be developed with key social enterprises that will bring long term benefits to the communities within local authority areas.

For more information on the Reuse Consortium, contact:

Alison Brown, Consortium Co-ordinator, reuseconsortium@crns.org.uk, Tel 01786 469002

David Wood, CEO, david@crns.org.uk, Tel 01786 469002

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