Trafford Housing Trust and North West procurement consortium Procure Plus have set up a social enterprise secondhand furniture shop in Old Trafford to recycle unwanted and donated pieces of furniture at widely affordable prices.
The Rainbow Furniture Centre in Malvern Row will sell sofas, white goods, dining tables and televisions, with free delivery. However, for people donating items for collection will be charged £5 to cover fuel costs.
The majority of furniture on sale was donated via Cleanstart, a scheme set up four years ago by Trafford Housing Trust with the support of Procure Plus to employ ex-offenders to clear and clean vacated properties. All good quality furnishings left at the empty properties will now be sent to the Rainbow Furniture Centre for re-use, rather than going to landfill.
The Rainbow Furniture Centre provides employment and training opportunities for local people. A proportion of the staff will be ex-offenders that want to rebuild their lives and get back into employment.
Ann-Marie Hopkins, equality and diversity manager at Procure Plus, said: "So far, Rainbow has secured a position for one ex-offender who will be working as a shop assistant at the store. This will be a great opportunity for him to learn a wide range of key skills and pick up business knowledge, which will improve his future employability. The team at Procure Plus will be on hand to support and mentor him throughout his employment."
The project is also offering volunteering opportunities to the local community, so they can improve their recycling knowledge, either by going out on deliveries or working in the shop. What's more, everyone who works or volunteers at the store will be offered the chance to complete a NVQ level 2 in Recycle and Re-use at Trafford College.
Deborah Elgar, social enterprise manager at Trafford Housing Trust, added: "We created Rainbow with the aim of providing access to much-needed furniture for financially-restricted residents, but the benefits have been much wider. The project will create jobs and training opportunities for local people, as well as reduce waste by encouraging people to view their unwanted furniture as a resource. We've already helped to direct over 300 tonnes of unwanted household goods from landfill, which is a great achievement."