Top prize for firm which supports its community

Andy Simpson, CEO of Doncaster Refurnish (centre) with the Refurnish team. Doncaster Refurnish has been chosen as one of Yorkshire's Top 10 social enterprises.

Andy Simpson, CEO of Doncaster Refurnish (centre) with the Refurnish team. Doncaster Refurnish has been chosen as one of Yorkshire's Top 10 social enterprises.

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A BUSINESS which was set up to transform old furniture into new pieces has won £10,000 first prize in a national awards.

Doncaster Refurnish took first place in the Key Fund’s Top Ten Social Enterprise Awards, celebrating businesses who make a significant contribution to their communities.

Refurnish was created to deal with the lack of affordable furniture and to cut the large number of furniture being sent to landfill.

So far this year Refurnish made 13,309 collections of household waste, received 125 shipments of retail waste, diverted 504 tonnes from landfill and supported 10,500 individuals and families with the proceeds.

This work funded 11 ex-offender roles, 79 training work placements for long-term unemployed, engaged 149 students and pupils in educational activities and supported 150 children through a ‘Spirit of Christmas’ event.

Matt Smith, fund manager at the Key Fund, said: “Refurnish is a truly entrepreneurial social enterprise which combines the delivery of social, environmental, and economic targets.

“It’s not just about helping its employees, it makes a significant impact on people who are in dire financial straits, developing new services so they don’t fall into the murky world of loan sharks and other illegal activities.”

Refurnish work closely with the community, sharing resources with schools, colleges and community groups.

New projects include a community scrapstore, a handyman service, and offering credit facilities at their shops through a partnership with Moneyline. People with learning difficulties, disabilities and the long-term unemployed are actively engaged.

Andy Simpson, CEO of Refurnish, said: “We are just overjoyed at winning this award and I can’t praise the Key Fund enough for helping us achieve the success we have to date.

“There are lots of funding institutions out there that make promises, that talk a good story and shine in the eyes of the powers that be, but none deliver like the Key Fund. The Key Fund lives and breathes it, it believes in what we strive to achieve.”