keyboard_arrow_left See all news

Recent News

09 Nov 2020
January Furniture Show Dates Moved
January Furniture Show organiser postpones the event to 25-28 April 2021, due to extende...
21 Sep 2020
Time to Do More Online?
Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director at IMRG, talks about the importance of onlin...
11 Sep 2020
Furniture Digest | BFM Industry Support, Appointment Systems & Retail Sales Increase
Nick Garratt gives an insight into how the BFM is supporting the industry. There's acqui...
04 Sep 2020
Appointment System Weeds out Browsers
A look into how an appointment-based system can help businesses such as Artertons and Fu...
31 Jul 2020
ACID | Dids Macdonald on IP Protection
Dids Macdonald, OBE Chief Executive - Anti Copying in Design (ACID), shares an overview ...
20 Jul 2020
Dan Oscroft | Whitemeadow
“We’ve made good progression, but we’re far from done yet” says Dan Oscroft, who...
10 Jul 2020
Real Business Rescue's Keith Tully on COVID-19
Real Business Rescue is a restructuring and turnaround service for businesses in financi...
03 Jul 2020
Furniture Digest | La-Z-Boy on COVID-19, Backing British Furniture & Uncertainty for Harveys
Insight from La-Z-Boy, and Barker and Stonehouse’s new campaign supporting the British...
02 Jul 2020
La-Z-Boy UK: Coping with COVID-19
Global upholstery manufacturer La-Z-Boy reflects on how its UK arm has coped with the co...
19 Jun 2020
Furniture Digest | Footfall up 40%, Advice from Retailer Vic Smith Beds & VAT Reduction
We caught up with Vic Smith Beds to find out how they are opening safely. Footfall was u...
17 Jun 2020
Vic Smith Beds: Coping with COVID-19
Independent mattress retailer Vic Smith Beds shares an insight into how they have coped ...
05 Jun 2020
Furniture Digest | Advice from Financial Consultancy & Consumer Demand
We spoke to an expert from Financial Consultancy Begbies Traynor to get advice and insig...
03 Jun 2020
COVID-19: Independent Advice from Professional Financial Consultancy Begbies Traynor
Gary Lee, North West Partner and a specialist in Business Rescue & Recovery at Begbies T...
29 May 2020
Furniture Digest | Financial Support & More Retail Reopening
The Furniture Makers' Company increased the support available, while Arlo & Jacob has ...
28 May 2020
Trend: Sustainability
COVID-19 has presented governments, businesses and individuals with unprecedented challe...
22 May 2020
Furniture Digest | BFC Inquiry & Guidance for Retailers
More information has emerged from the British Furniture Confederation (BFC) Inquiry into...
21 May 2020
How Retailers Can Prepare to Reopen
As several large-scale retailers begin to open their doors, many local retailers are st...
11 May 2020
COVID-19: The Furniture Industry Responds
We’ve been inspired by stories about these suppliers and retailers that are using thei...
21 Apr 2020
Manchester Furniture Show postponed to 2021
As a consequence of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the Manch...
30 Mar 2020
Manchester Furniture Show Venue Update
Organisers comment on commissioning of Manchester Central Convention Complex as NHS ‘N...
16 Mar 2020
Furniture Shows | James Howard
It may be a trial by fire, but there’s nothing like going out on-site when you’re st...
05 Mar 2020
The Global Outbreak of COVID-19
Following the global outbreak of COVID-19, Clarion Events is continuing to monitor the l...
04 Feb 2020
January Furniture Show is home to the industry’s market movers
The value of the U.K.’s furniture and lighting retail market looks primed to advance a...
03 Feb 2020
Furniture Makers exceeds target of 100 One Step at a Time companies
The Furniture Makers’ Company has surpassed its target of 100 companies signed up to i...
12 Dec 2019
Edward Tadros | Centenary Statements
Edward Tadros, Ercol chairman since 1993, says the manufacturer plans to hold a serie...
19 Sep 2019
Tom Hughes | Kesterport
Preparations for the next January Furniture Show begin almost as soon as the last one en...
21 Aug 2019
So Much More than Furniture
As the largest furniture and interiors event of the summer, MFS is an industry event tha...
23 Jul 2019
Furniture Industry Gathered at Largest Summer Event
Manchester Furniture Show 2019 came to a close with exhibitors reporting positive reacti...
12 Jul 2019
Manchester Heats Up
The mercury will finally rise as summer comes to Manchester for the 2019 Manchester Furn...
11 Jul 2019
Tim Robinson | Gala Collezione
​​​​​​​Poland has emerged as the largest European exporter of upholstery t...
13 Aug, 2020
keyboard_arrow_left See all news

The Furniture Makers': Here to Help

 Jonny Westbrooke, CEO of The Furniture Makers' Company, the long-standing furnishing industry charity, talks about how it's helping through the pandemic and beyond, and what support is on offer for those who are struggling. 

There's no doubt it has been a gruelling few months and will be for many more ahead. 

The words 'unprecedented', 'strange', 'crisis' and 'lockdown' have all been part of our daily dialogue along with coronavirus. It really is a testing time. It's been tough.

As many businesses battled back against Covid-19, offering their support to the NHS and front line workers, others have struggled or barely surviving. 

      Our charity has never had a greater cause to sustain people in the trade and our Personal Support Grants are providing some much-needed hope during this incredibly uncertain time. 

For those in need of help, furnishing industry charity, The Furniture Makers' Company is ready to step in.

In fact, it's been quite an 'unprecedented' time for the charity, where it has received 17 times more applications during the last few months when compared to the same period during 2019. It's been a mammoth task for The Furniture Makers' Company and they have a simple message, "We're here to help."

Jonny Westbrooke, CEO of The Furniture Makers' Company, which has been a staple in the furnishing industry since 1903, explained just how important the charity has been in these more recent times, "The pandemic has resulted in a huge surge in applications for financial support from people in the trade. To put it in perspective, the number of Personal Support Grant applications from March to May are 17 times higher than the same period in 2019. 

"We have trebled our in-office capacity to meet this demand and have trained three volunteers to help process applications as we anticipate many more to come as the true impact of the crisis unfolds. Having the staff on hand to instantly support people is incredibly important to us as we want to provide peace of mind to anyone who applies."

As Jonny highlighted, The Furniture Makers' Company provides Personal Support Grants. "These are to employees and sole traders working in the UK furnishing industry to help mitigate against the loss of earnings people are experiencing as a result of being furloughed, made redundant, unable to work or a diminished order book," he added.

An individual can apply for a monthly grant of £200, while a married couple can receive a monthly grant of £250. The duration of these grants will depend on the applicant’s changing situation. Sole traders can apply for a one-off grant of £500.

The help and support the charity offers is crucial to the livelihoods of industry workers that face uncertainty. Some recent cases have seen The Furniture Makers' Company secure support for a variety of different scenarios. We found out more.

Nicholas, a self-employed designer-maker, has been unable to complete projects or secure new commissions due to COVID-19. He and his partner had manageable debt from moving home, but the shortage of work has exhausted their reserves and put a financial strain on the relationship.

"Nicholas contacted The Furniture Makers’ Company after searching for support online and was pleased to hear that we could provide a £500 grant for self-employed workers," Jonny revealed.
"The grant will help cover the couple’s household bills and allow Nicholas to buy materials for new designs, putting him in a good position to jumpstart his business once the lockdown is lifted."
Another case is Laura. She was made redundant from her job as a quality assurance officer, which she has worked as for the past seven years. Her partner, an upholsterer at a different company, has worked in the trade for 17 years. 

"The shock of redundancy has been immense and sadly the couple had to postpone their wedding which was due to take place in summer 2020. The couple were pleased to be expecting their first child later this year, but now that has been overshadowed by financial uncertainty," Jonny said.   

"On receiving the couple’s application for support, we were able to respond quickly and award a two-month hardship grant and they will be able to apply for further months if needed."
Finally, Arnis, an upholsterer for many years, was recently made redundant after the company he worked for entered administration, which happened just before he should have received his monthly wage, leaving him and his wife with little money to pay their upcoming rent.

Jonny explained: "He contacted The Furniture Makers’ Company after hearing about us through his manager and was delighted to find out that we could provide some financial support with a grant."

Arnis added: “We were so pleased to hear from you regarding the grant. It really is a relief at this time and will help us to manage our finances until they are sorted without having to borrow money or take on debt.”

It's clear how vital The Furniture Makers' Company is within the industry, but the charity has had to adapt to its own issues through the pandemic, being forced to cancel some fundraising campaigns, including the much loved - well attended and supported - Big Shots. 

"Like everyone, we have been affected by the government restrictions in what we can do. In March we took the decision to cancel all events up to the end of July," Jonny said.
"The restrictions have meant that we have had to be creative with raising money. One initiative was an online auction that will run through the month of July and be hosted on eBay. 

"Our message is simple: if you work in the furnishing industry in any function and you are struggling, we may be able to help you. You don’t have to be on the poverty line to receive support from us. 

"We exist to help people before it hopefully gets to that stage. Our team are processing applications very quickly and we can get money in people’s accounts within a couple of days, provided we have all the information needed.

"Our charity has never had a greater cause to sustain people in the trade and our Personal Support Grants are providing some much-needed hope during this incredibly uncertain time. Anyone in the industry can help us by spreading the word of our grants by telling co-workers and sharing information on social media and company portals. 

"Our One Step at a Time campaign has played a key role in getting the word out to people in the industry. The free campaign asked companies to sign up as One Step Champions and commit to communicating our Personal Support Grants among their employees. On registering, companies will receive free digital and physical collateral to share with employees. We had 104 companies signed up by May 2020 and we want 350 signed up by May 2021." 

Sign up to the campaign here: https://www.furnituremakers.org.uk/one-step-at-a-time

For more information about The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Personal Support Grants, visit: www.furnituremakers.org.uk/welfare 

 
 
Processing. Please wait.
Loading...