End Furniture Poverty Campaign Launched

The End Furniture Poverty launch with Rev. Richard Coles

The End Furniture Poverty launch with Rev. Richard Coles

A new campaign to End Furniture Poverty was launched at an event today attended by leaders in the social housing sector with Reverend Richard Coles as the keynote speaker

Furniture Poverty is often a hidden issue but it is one which damages thousands of lives, usually affecting the most vulnerable in society. 

The campaigning arm of an established charity and social enterprise – FRC Group – End Furniture Poverty has been created to raise awareness of Furniture Poverty and to promote practical solutions for people living in all types of housing – social renters, private renters, homeowners. 

Attendees were the first organisations to pledge their support to End Furniture Poverty which will run targeted campaigns for different sectors. Organisations signed up to the pledge – B3 Living, Gentoo, Mosscare, SYHA, New Charter, Accord, North Wales Housing Association, LMH 

The first of these campaigns will be “Furnishing Homes, Furnishing Lives” aiming to increase the availability of furnished accommodation in the social housing sector. 

As well as being a former 80s pop star in The Communards, our keynote speaker, the Reverend Richard Coles is a board member of Wellingborough Homes and worked closely with a charity helping ex-offenders furnish their homes, so he understands the impact furniture poverty can have on lives. He said at the launch: “If you intervene in the right way at the right time, you can make a difference between a life that is liveable and one that is not. I would urge all housing associations to sign the pledge to End Furniture Poverty and commit yourselves to working together to make a difference to people’s lives.”

Furniture Poverty arises when people either can not afford to provide themselves with the essential furniture and appliances that are needed to make a house into a home; or when people have gone into unmanageable levels of debt to be able to purchase these items.

Unlike fuel poverty there is not a calculation of income levels and furniture costs that define Furniture Poverty.

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Chair of FRC Group said: “Furniture Poverty needs a voice. It is part larger problems of poverty and inequality but for too long it has been a hidden and fragmented issue. Furniture Poverty is not only a problem in the social housing sector but  leaders in our sector should be at the forefront of tackling this issue”

Many low-income households experience Furniture Poverty or are only one ‘appliance breakdown’ away from Furniture Poverty. 

It is evident when people are trapped in temporary accommodation because they can not afford basic items to be able to move into an unfurnished property; when a family can not afford to replace a broken cooker or fridge; when children and parents are sharing a mattress on the floor for a bed and everyone’s clothes are stored in black bags.

Verity Timmins, Campaigns Manager said: “Furniture Poverty is a hidden pressure on families across the UK in all housing tenures. This problem needs to be more visible so that together we can tackle its causes and raise awareness of some practical solutions that exist.”

Rob Ferguson, CEO of Mosscare, said: “This is a really important issue and one which can often be overlooked. We were delighted to be invited to the launch today and I look forward to working with partners across social housing to End Furniture Poverty, something which could transform the lives of our tenants.”

End Furniture Poverty