This is wonderful news and I am extremely grateful for this recognition and being honoured with an OBE. It is a very humbling experience to be honoured in this way. This award also honours and recognises the work of the Furniture Re-use Network; the team, the board and the charity reuse sector across the UK. This is where the hard work is done and the successes accomplished. This is very much a sector that is driven by creating benefit for society.
I have spent the last 15 years working to represent and support the important work of the charity reuse sector, and although it has not always been easy nor given due credit, we have accomplished so much. For 25 years the sector has reduced the poverty levels of low income UK households and supported people through training and helping them back into work - all through the reuse of furniture and electricals goods. We are now providing nearly a million low income households with much needed furniture and electrical goods and saving them over £340million every year. As well as stepping up to support those who are losing out most because of welfare cuts, the sector is also preventing 3 million items from being wasted every year, saving nearly 400,000 tonnes of CO2. Our work makes social, economic and environmental sense.
I am absolutely thrilled to receive this honour, especially with this being the 25th Anniversary of the FRN. We now have real achievements to celebrate while also looking to the future. I am delighted on a personal level and for the whole charity reuse sector.
With this honour I am looking forward to being able to do more to help the sector do more, to raising the profile of our work and highlighting the benefits of reuse to alleviate poverty and waste.
We need to ensure that members of the public can choose to reuse and support their local communities through our local furniture and electrical reuse charities, and also ensure that more people know that reuse matters.
This honour shows that the establishment is taking our sector seriously. Now we need to make sure that Government, commerce and industry understand that with a simple little action in support of reuse we can do something good together, bring huge benefits for society and the environment, and have a major impact on communities across the UK.