Tenants finding new homes for preloved furniture in pilot scheme promoting circular economy
Since April 2022 Linc has been working with Welsh recycling and reuse specialists Wastesavers, NuLife and Circulate, refurbishment and maintenance experts R&M Williams, and housing association Pobl in a brand-new pilot project. The scheme will see old furniture given a new lease of life with Linc’s tenants in Newport, Blaenau Gwent and Cardiff.
Operating across three local authorities, the ‘Re-Store’ project will see R&M Williams donating usable unwanted furniture from vacated Linc homes to Wastesavers shops in Newport, Cardiff, and other locations across South Wales.
The furniture will be spruced up, cleaned and repaired by Wastesavers and their team of volunteers. Once every bed, wardrobe, table or chair is in tip-top condition, it will be sold to the public in Wastesavers shops alongside high-quality seconds from big-name retailers such as Curry’s and John Lewis.
Importantly, Linc is supporting tenants in need by giving them access to essential furniture free of charge.
Making a house feel like a home
A key part of the pilot is that Linc will be working with Wastesavers to ensure that anyone moving into one of their homes won’t be moving into an empty property. Households experiencing financial difficulty will be able to access specific items like white goods and essential furniture to improve their quality of life.
Some people move into their homes with little or no furniture, they may be ineligible for other funded schemes, or if they are eligible find themselves waiting 4-5 weeks to receive any help.
In the past, this has meant new tenants entering their new home with nothing – no beds, wardrobes or sofas. And research shows that this increases the chance that the tenancy could fail. But under Linc’s Re-Store scheme, tenants can choose furniture to the value of up to £200 and have it delivered to their new home on the day they get their key.
How Re-Store works for tenants
Linc’s Re-Store scheme has no eligibility criteria – tenants simply let their neighbourhood officer know they have a need for a new sofa or table, and the scheme will help them out.
As the Re-Store pilot gets underway, Linc’s neighbourhood officers will support new residents by taking them to their local Wastesavers unit. There, tenants will be provided a budget so those most in-need can choose essential items to make their house a home. Linc can even commit part of the budget to provide delivery of the furniture on the same day.
Furnishing a property helps residents feel secure in their tenancy and in their new life. A house can immediately become a home, and at no cost to the tenant and with no lengthy application process.
Importantly, Linc’s tenants can become part of the circular economy, proudly playing a vital role in saving tonnes of quality furniture from landfill.
A warm welcome
Of course, it’s not just the furniture that makes a house homely. Linc tenants can also access a Home Starter Pack containing essentials like cutlery, crockery, pots, pans and lamps.
When tenants feel at-home from the beginning, it underpins the tenancy – residents feel secure, happy and supported. In fact, studies have shown that as many as 25% of tenancies would have failed without receiving support with furnishing their homes.
To help residents further, there are volunteer programmes at each re-use centre where tenants are encouraged to learn new skills that could help them find work in the future.
The Re-Store pilot scheme launched in April 2022 with £10,000 in funding from the Wales Procurement Alliance and will run for a year. From 2023, Linc intends to make the scheme a permanent offering for its tenants.