Furniture Resource Group

Providing quality bespoke training to various stakeholders

The Furniture Resource Centre (FRC Group) are a social enterprise whose mission is to reduce and eradicate furniture poverty. They aim to do so through raising awareness and creating practical solutions to get furniture to those who need it.

One barrier to the eradication of furniture poverty is skill shortages within the labour market. Noting this FRC Group sought to create a solution through the provision of sustainable employment and training programmes within their organisation.

As a result, they created their ‘Driving Change’ programme, designed to offer opportunities to the long term unemployed and those living in poverty through the provision of training courses to gain a Large Goods and Vehicles class 2 license, as well as meeting the skills shortage of professional drivers.

As part of this FRC Group train more drivers than they need to fill their internal vacancies, and then secure employment for trainees either within FRC Group or elsewhere. Allowing for the programme to benefit the organisation, the employee, and the local community, all in furtherance of FRC Group’s social mission of eradicating furniture poverty.

“After connecting with Bloom at a networking event we look forward to continuing our collaboration to bring quality social value training to the public sector and VCSEs.”.
Claire Donovan, Business Manager, Furniture Resource Centre

The challenge

Bloom are continuing to operate as a socially responsible business, maximising the social value created throughout its operations. Bloom are focused on partnering with organisations with a clear social mission. Often defined as voluntary and community organisations and social
enterprises (VCSE).

Bloom identified a shortage in the region’s labour market of procurement professionals and sought to create a training programme that could address this, whilst providing qualifications and employment opportunities within the North East. This would not only benefit Bloom’s colleague talent pool but also create social value in the community through the provision of training and experience.

As part of Bloom’s strategy of ‘Growth Beyond Giving’, helping VCSEs improve their sustainability through increasing commercial activity, Bloom were looking to work with a VCSE organisation to build a meaningful apprenticeship scheme.

Bloom were introduced to the FRC Group at a Social Value UK networking event. FRC Group introduced their ‘Driving Change’ programme and it became clear there was scope for collaboration between the two organisations.

The solution
Bloom were introduced to the FRC Group at a Social Value UK networking event. FRC Group introduced their ‘Driving Change’ programme and it became clear there was scope for collaboration between the two organisations.

Bloom arranged for their CEO, to visit FRC Group’s headquarters. During this visit, FRC Group set out their ‘Driving Change’ programme which was designed to offer opportunities to the long term unemployed and those living in poverty. As well as meeting the skills shortage of professional drivers.

The outcome
Following this meeting Bloom’s CEO has implemented a similar training programme internally. This will provide procurement apprenticeships and offer 4 – 6 placements a year. The apprenticeships will start in September 2019.

Notably, this programme replicates ‘Driving Change’ as it also recruits a higher number of apprentices than are needed to fill internal vacancies. Again, mirroring the intention that once qualified, these apprentices, with Bloom’s support, will be able to enter roles elsewhere within the public or private sector.

Further to this Bloom is currently co-developing commissioner and VCSE training in partnership with FRC Group. This training will be from the perspective of a social enterprise approaching the public sector market and will delivered free of charge to our customers and accredited suppliers.

In order to deliver this, FRC Group have become a Bloom accredited supplier for the provision of social value training. Thereby widening their compliant routes to market with UK public sector buyers.

Commissioning services from VCSEs is part of Bloom’s mission to deliver ‘Growth Beyond Giving’. This mission also serves to enrich Bloom’s Resource Pool, providing the UK public sector with access to a diverse pool of suppliers including VCSEs.

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