After entering the Swale Business Awards last year and being shortlisted as a finalist, Neighbourhood Furniture Store is hoping that in 2019 they will pick up a coveted Swale Business Award.
The Swale-based charity is a second-hand furniture re-use project offering good quality household items at affordable prices. Initially just for people on low-incomes, the charity has seen demand for their services grow as those who are ‘just about managing’ also needed this sort of help.
Project Manager Everlyn Saunders explained what had changed in the year since Neighbourhood Furniture Store last entered the awards: “Over the last 12 months we have increased our impact within the community by supporting other charities and community projects, acting as a valuable community resource. We are doing this in conjunction with our core objective of diverting waste from landfill; reducing the need for fly tipping and recycling household furniture to those in need. We also support personal development by promoting and referring to training courses, income support and beneficial community events.”
Neighbourhood Furniture Store’s impact in the community continues to grow. They have recently joined the team that supports Sittingbourne Food Bank, being a drop off point for much needed items to support the local community in their time of need. They are also a drop off point for items for the homeless and since November 2018 have collected over 100 bags of winter items. They support Swale Community Wardrobe in 2018 washing over 300 loads of school uniform dropped off here, that are then distributed for free to families in need, avoiding children feeling ostracized or looking different.
Everlyn discussed what made her charity stand out: “Whilst our primary functions is to sell used furniture, we build relationships with customers to look at their needs. We use our networks to signpost them to other support networks e.g. training providers, community events, employment support or volunteering. Many refer to us as a ‘valuable community resource’, rather than just a charity furniture store. We are committed to implementing working with other local charities and projects, which I believe is unique locally. This is not to benefit the store but to help benefit the local community. Using our already established social media presence we promote local causes – all for the greater good.”
Finally Everlyn spoke about why she hoped to win a Swale Business Award in 2019: “It would be nice to get official recognition of the invaluable service we have offered to the community over the last 14 years and such recognition would increase awareness and consequently increase the amount of people we can support. Staff, volunteers and customers are not judged on circumstances or backgrounds. We believe we give everyone the same opportunity to better their lives whether it be through furniture, training or work experience, and we currently have a customer satisfaction score of over 99%!”
Neighbourhood Furniture Store
07876 457 584