Furniture Re-use Network awards its shining stars – across the reuse sector

Posted on the 16th May 2017

I’m really grateful it’s here as it’s the only place that is genuinely there to help the local community and people in need

Grahame Park Estate customer

Craig Anderson, Furniture Re-use Network, CEO presented this year’s awards for Re-use Organisation of the Year, Innovative Project of the Year and Volunteer of the Year Award at the 2017 FRN Conference Gala Dinner on Wednesday 10 May.

Finalists from all three categories demonstrated outstanding achievement in helping change people’s lives for the better and highlighting the environmental benefits of re-use in their communities.

The strength of entries this year was impressive – proving that ingenuity, creativity, dedication and passion is alive and thriving across the UK re-use sector.

The Volunteer of the Year and Innovative Project of the Year winners were chosen by a panel comprised of FRN board members and staff. In addition, for the first time in our awards history, FRN asked the general public to choose their Re-use Organisation of the Year winner.

Reuse Organisation of the Year 2017

The Loop @ Grahame Park receiving Reuse Organisation of the Year award 2017
The Loop @ Grahame Park

After receiving over 1,000 online votes the Re-use Organisation of the Year accolade went to Groundwork London for their project The Loop @ Grahame Park. With a mission to reduce waste, alleviate furniture poverty; create employment opportunities and help people develop new skills, The Loop @ Grahame Park proves that re-use organisations can generate stability and social cohesion during turbulent times. Located in the heart of one of the most disadvantaged housing estates in London, The Loop is one of five re-use hubs from a pilot scheme created by RE:WORK. As soon as it opened, The Loop @ Grahame Park became a central community hub providing support and care to those that needed it during a time of upheaval – as amenities and accommodation were modernised.

One customer from Grahame Park Estate said of the project: “Whenever I have mentioned the Loop to other people they have sung its praises, so many people have been helped and have helped others by donating furniture. People love this place and have never seen another place like it. I’m really grateful it’s here as it’s the only place that is genuinely there to help the local community and people in need.”

Innovative Project of the Year 2017

Revive Leeds receiving Innovative Project of the Year award 2017
Revive Leeds

If you delve into the workings of re-use organisations you discover impressive examples of innovation, imagination and ingenuity. Our members strive to reach out to individuals in need, encourage re-use and build community support. Despite fierce competition the Innovative Project of the Year award went to Revive Leeds for their university campus pop-up shops.Students at the University of Huddersfield were asked by Revive Leeds to set-up and run a pop-up shop. The students plan and co-ordinate everything from marketing and pricing strategies to the day to day running.The project enabled Revive Leeds to educate students about the environmental and social benefits of the work they do while the students themselves attained practical work experience. By engaging students in this way, Revive Leeds also secured ambassadors to help spread the re-use message throughout the university population.

Further to understanding more about the BA course and what Business Studies students really wanted e.g. hands on experience, we came up with the offer of letting students run pop-up shops on their campus. This enables us to get our message across e.g. the importance of reuse, to a wider, new audience.

Volunteer of the Year 2017

June Faunch receiving Volunteer of the Year award 2017
June Faunch, Changing Lives in Cheshire

Too often the unsung heroes of the British workplace are volunteers. Volunteers make a huge contribution to the re-use sector and, in turn, our member organisations teach them new skills, encourage them to try new things, gain employment or boost their confidence. The well-deserved winner of FRN Volunteer of the Year Award went to June Faunch from Changing Lives in Cheshire.

Described as a “Ray of Sunshine” by those who worked closely with her, June proved herself to be a dedicated volunteer that turned up early, left late and often went the extra mile to do an outstanding job for the Changing Lives in Cheshire team. June spent most of her childhood growing up in local authority care. After leaving care she secured her own accommodation but struggled with paying bills and lacked confidence, qualifications, employable skills. From unconfident and unreliable beginnings, June became a fantastic sales person and developed a keen interest in the ‘science’ of shop displays.

In an extraordinary short time, just seven months, June has battled and addressed all of her barriers to employment. She has taken on board every suggestion and offer of help; increasing her confidence, self-esteem, appearance and employment skills.

June’s hard work volunteering has paid off and she will be embarking on a three month work trial with a highly reputable high-street retailer shortly. The FRN team and all our members wish June lots of luck for 2017!

The FRN team work nationwide to help shape the future work practices of re-use organisations across the UK, ensuring the FRN membership is fully represented, supported and informed on all issues and practices related to re-use for social, economic and environmental benefit.

If you are interested in finding out how you can join the Furniture Re-use Network, please visit our Become a Member page or contact us on 0117 954 3578 or email 

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