IN THE 6,000 square feet that Furnish occupies in West12 shopping centre, you will find a huge range of items – everything from gramophones and old pianos to cupboards, lamps, beds and office equipment.
It is a veritable treasure trove for anyone looking to pick up something for the home.
Furnish collects unwanted second-hand furniture from the community, repairs it and then sells it on at an affordable price and it caters to all tastes.
Initially set up in the 1980s to help council house tenants, it has, in recent years snowballed into a thriving social enterprise, used by people from all walks of life.
“It’s a useful service,” said Furnish project manager, Mark Hardy, “people whose relatives have died and they need to empty their homes, people who have moved house, people who upgrade their furniture – we deal with all these scenarios.
“Many of our customers come in because they like using projects like this, it’s ethical and logical. We want the public to think ‘could I buy that new or could I get it reused?’ We fix the donated items up and then sell them on in a good condition.
“We have a wide range of quality stock; vintage sofas, quirky stuff like gramophones, people like to come in and rummage and really we’ll sell things for whatever people are prepared to pay for it.”
The idea is straightforward, customers who have any unwanted furniture call a number and a chargeable collection is arranged. The furniture is then taken to the depot in Greenford where it is stored, and in some cases restored by volunteers and people on probationary service as part of their community payback.
It is then sold to the public in the Shepherd’s Bush’s shopping centre.
The organisation offers a 25 per cent discount for people on specific benefits, such as income support, pension credits, disability allowance and full housing benefit.
Further discounts are also offered to tenants of the Shepherd’s Bush Housing Assocation – which is also a partner of Furnish – Hammersmith and Fulham Homes, and anyone referred by Westminster Council.
Supported by the London Re-Use Network, Furnish not only gives a helping hand to low income families but also benefits the environment. Last year alone, it saved 80 tons of furniture from landfill, saving 720 tons of CO2 emissions.
Such is the demand for reused furniture that Furnish recently moved from its original location – in a 1,000sq ft shop on the top floor of West12 – to its new premises downstairs and is now collecting and selling large quantities of used office and commercial furniture.
Due to this influx of stock Mr Hardy is looking into opening another store, possibly in Ealing.
He said: “The commercial section of the organisation is being kept busy, at the moment we’re helping to clear out the BBC. This means we have a lot of office stock, which can be very beneficial for start-up or small and medium sized businesses.
“We’re also hoping to increase training and are looking at the possibility of opening a second store close to the depot in Ealing. We’re very busy but the future is looking good.”
For more information, visit www.furnishwest12.co.uk or call 020 3142 8506.