Bulky Bob’s scheme to help over 1,000 Liverpool families with crisis furniture has won them a prestigious national award for the Best Community Recycling Initiative at a ceremony in London today.
In the past year alone, Bulky Bob’s Crisis Furniture Scheme has given 851 families crisis furniture, and since the start of 2014 they have given away over 740 items of furniture leading to their recognition in the eleventh annual Awards for Excellence in Recycling and Waste Management, organised by Let’s Recycle magazine.
The scheme began in 2009 although Bulky Bob’s, a social business, has been giving away furniture since it was founded over 25 years ago.
Shaun Doran, Chief Executive of Bulky Bob’s parent company, FRC Group, explained: “We have always worked with a network of referral agencies to help people in need and in 2009 we formalised the arrangement to make sure that we were reaching out to as many people in need as we could.
“Agencies like the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, the Salvation Army, domestic violence charities, housing associations and council departments, among others, will refer people us who desperately need furniture for a variety of reasons.”
The scheme works by giving people vouchers to spend in Bulky Bob’s Furniture World, their shop on London Road. The shop is filled with items Bulky Bob’s collect as part of their key partnership with Liverpool City Council, collecting bulky household waste for free from homes across the city. All items suitable for reuse go to the shop and giving people vouchers means they can choose what they need, and then it is delivered for free by the Bulky Bob’s team.
Shaun said: “By offering an element of choice, we are creating more of a shopping experience rather than a ‘hand-out’ and it is another way of helping people back on their feet. Then we make sure we deliver the items for free within 24 to 48 hours as often the need is that acute.
The judges for the award, sponsored by DHL Envirosolutions, were looking for the commitment shown by the social enterprise or community group and the achievements made and Bulky Bob’s certainly fit that criteria.
Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Steve Munby, said: “At a time when so many people in the city face desperate financial problems, the help Bulky Bob’s provides for families in need has been vital. Congratulations to everyone at Bulky Bob’s for this award.”
Bulky Bob’s is also working with Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority on a Community Fund project, delivering crisis furniture packages to families in need and by using preloved furniture, it has the added benefit of diverting waste from landfill and helping the environment too.
Shaun said: “”We would like to take this opportunity thank all of our partners who help us to deliver schemes like these, particularly Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority
Pictured::Bulky Bob’s Steve Kuypers arranges a crisis furniture delivery in Liverpool.