The charitable campaign worked with social value experts ‘morethanoutputs’ and Liverpool City Council to carry out the study, which demonstrates the wider benefits of lifting people out of Furniture Poverty.
The research interviewed recipients of Liverpool City Council’s Citizen Support Scheme, (LCSS), who had all received items of essential furniture and white goods. They were asked what receiving the items had meant to them. The responses included freedom and increased independence, worrying less about money, improved mental and physical health, and feeling proud of Liverpool.
‘morethanoutputs’ then used social value methodology to work out the social value created by the provision of these items.
Claire Donovan, Campaigns Manager for End Furniture Poverty, said: “This research demonstrates that providing essential items to people living in Furniture Poverty is transformational. The cost of providing the furniture is a minimal investment compared to the social value created, value that will have a profound impact on people’s lives and undoubtedly save money in the long run by improving people’s mental and physical wellbeing.”
End Furniture Poverty is part of FRC Group, a group of registered charities and 100% not-for-profit social businesses that include FRC and Bulky Bob’s. Because the shared mission of the group is to End Furniture Poverty, and people living in Furniture Poverty are likely to need more support than a single item of furniture, they decided to focus the research on the SROI of a complete package of essential furniture items, hence the overall figure of £6472.
End Furniture Poverty defines Furniture Poverty as the inability to afford or access basic furniture and furnishings, (including domestic appliances), that provide a household with a decent quality of life and the ability to participate in the norms of society. They have carried out research to establish what those essential items are:
A PC or laptop was recently added to this list, the necessity of which has become increasingly clear during the lockdowns of the past year.
Here is what some of the furniture recipients said when asked what being given an item meant to them:
“It changed my life – I went from having nothing to being able to work and provide.”
“I’m able to feed my son a healthy meal – I feel better about myself.”
“I’ve started painting, decorating, it feels more like home – I have more self-esteem and confidence.”
“The kids are settled – so I am happier.”
“What changed? Life! It allowed me to leave – so better physical and mental health for me and baby. It’s given me increased freedom.
“It’s given me more breathing space – I can’t emphasise enough how much easier it made things.”
“I’m no longer ashamed – I’m able to invite friends and family around for tea.”
“It’s nice to feel like there was help and support out there – I’m proud of Liverpool for offering that support.”
Councillor Jane Corbett, Assistant Mayor of Liverpool & Mayoral Lead – Fairness & Tackling Poverty, said: “We welcome this report, as we recognise the importance of evidencing the social return on investment in our Liverpool Citizens Support Scheme.
“The report shows how providing our residents who are struggling to make ends meet with essential furniture saves money in the short, medium and long term.
“Improving mental and physical health, reducing risks associated with debt, sustaining tenancies, and maintaining people’s dignity helps protect the public purse while also making a positive difference to people’s lives.”
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