On September 14th, 1988, a group of volunteers in Speke created Furniture Resource Centre to help get furniture to local people who desperately needed it.
Now 30 years on, Furniture Resource Centre has grown into a group of registered charities and social enterprises, known as FRC Group, helping over 55,000 Liverpool families and reusing over one million items of furniture as part of their charitable mission to End Furniture Poverty.
The best-known part of the group is Bulky Bob’s, which has completed over 1.1 million collections from homes across Liverpool through the Bulky Household Waste contract for Liverpool City Council. Everything Bulky Bob’s collects is checked to see if it is suitable for reuse, and if it is, much of it is given away for free through the 200 referral agencies working with Bulky Bob’s.
These referral agencies include fellow charities, and council teams such as social services, who contact Bulky Bob’s when they encounter a family or individual in need. Bulky Bob’s also holds regular ‘Free for All’s’, taking vans full of furniture out to be given away for free in areas needing support.
Shaun Doran, CEO of FRC Group, said: “We want everyone in Liverpool to join us in celebrating our 30th anniversary because it is thanks to the support of local people that we have been able to help so many people who sadly are still living in furniture poverty.”
It is also the first birthday of the newest member of the FRC Group family, Bulky Bob’s Office and Commercial Waste, offering confidential shredding, office recycling, commercial collections and now general waste collections to businesses across Merseyside, bringing in much-needed revenue to the charity.
Shaun said: “We are different to most charities because rather than fundraise, we run commercial businesses and use 100% of our profits to deliver our charitable work. We have been delighted by the support Bulky Bob’s Office & Commercial Waste has received from the business community as our customer base continues to grow.”
“It’s a great way for business to support a local charity, buying a service they already need at a competitive price, but by working with us, they are helping us to help local people in need.”
Bulky Bob’s Office and Commercial Waste customers include Liverpool One, Laing O’Rourke, Blackburne House and the Charities Trust. Linda Minnis, Charities Trust CEO, said: “We are really happy to be able to use a local social enterprise that not only offers all the security and services that we require, while also allowing us to use our procurement power to help local families through the charitable work that Bulky Bob’s delivers. We would urge other Liverpool businesses to do the same!”
Over the past three decades FRC Group has also employed over 450 Driving Change trainees, paying them to take their HGV Class II licence, a passport to a sustainable, well paid job, helping them all to achieve around 2,500 qualifications between them.
They have also recycled nearly 30,000 tonnes of waste, and won 34 national awards. These include the inaugural place in the SEO100 Hall of Fame, (the social enterprise equivalent to the FTSE, sponsored by RBS), for their social impact measurement – rigorously measuring the value of the work that they do.
The other social businesses in the group include Furniture Resource Centre, which sells new contract standard furniture to social landlords all across the country and has delivered furniture to over 100,000 families across the UK, and Buckingham Interiors, providing furniture, accessories and interior design services to care homes and sheltered accommodation.
The anniversary is being marked by a series of celebrations, starting with a party at their Brunswick Business Park base today, and followed by FRC Group’s annual awards, celebrating the work and achievements of staff, later in the year.
If you would like to support FRC Group and join Bulky Bob’s Office and Commercial Waste growing group of satisfied customers, visit www.bulkybobs.co.uk or call 0151 305 5200 to find out more or to book a free waste audit.