For this week’s “cuppa with…” we caught up with Paula and Fraser from the wonderful Glossopdale Furniture Project to celebrate the launch of their new website – www.gfpcollection.co.uk – which showcases the incredible upcycled pieces created by the team.
Tell us about your venture…
We work for Glossopdale Furniture Project – a charity that supports people in need with furniture packs. It started 25 years ago when a local family in need asked volunteers – then working at The Bureau in Glossop – for a few items to help them start up a home, basics such as a toaster, kettle etc. They raised funds and helped more people as more requests for support followed including requests for basic furniture. It snowballed from there and became GFP as we now know it, a growing organisation which is run by paid staff and volunteers.
Each year we help over 150 families with furniture packs which help them to rebuild their lives in many cases. It was about 80 families a year we helped three years ago but the requests for assistance continue to rise every year.
We receive donations of furniture and household items from the public and some companies. We sell these at discount prices in our shop on George St and from our warehouse on Pikes Lane, Glossop. Some of the furniture is upcycled or repaired and sold at the George St shop, and all the proceeds go straight back into the charity to allow our work to continue. We also produce work on commission for people painting their own furniture with the funds going back into the project. In addition, we have joiners on site who make items from old or donated wood which would usually be taken to the tip. These items include planters, bird tables, garden furniture etc, again all proceeds going back into the charity.
Earlier this year, we decided to revamp the shop on George St and make the ground floor a display area for our upcycled items which we named The Collection. We hit social media at top speed publicising wherever we could and it has really taken off from there. We now have successful sales in the shop, a brand new website and lots of commissions coming in all the time!
What makes GFP so special?
We are so passionate about what we do and we believe it is so important to transform pieces of furniture into something beautiful instead of throwing them away. We follow trends on social media to see where fashions are changing to keep up. We like to provide a full range of furniture to appeal to all. We reuse handles and even screws so nothing goes to waste and even use 99% recycled paint which we source from a company in Cambridge. It is important to us to do our bit in reducing landfill. In addition we have an amazing team of staff and volunteers who help us – and we love them for it!
Another thing that makes us stand out from the crowd is the way we arrange commissions. We invite the customer into our space, show them the workshops and discuss colours and designs. We take great care in understanding what they want from a commission; some are wanting pieces of furniture with great sentimental value upcycling and it is important to understand what they want to achieve in a sympathetic manner.
What inspires you about Glossop?
The community spirit and loyalty to the Furniture Project is incredible! Families have bought furniture from us for years, they have had children who have grown up who have then also bought furniture from us and so it goes on. The community of Glossop often goes to the trouble of donating furniture and household items and bringing it to us themselves instead of selling it online or taking it to the tip. On occasion, we have been really really short of mattresses, beds or duvets etc and we have put out requests for donations on social media. The responses we have had have been incredible with people turning up with freshly cleaned duvets, with mattresses and other items to help out – they are simply amazing!
Any exciting news to share?
The website is exciting but it’s only been running for a few days! We have been quite nervous about it as we haven’t done ecommerce before. Fingers crossed everything goes ok. In addition, we are hoping to expand our geographical cover. At the moment we cover the High Peak area but are hoping to help more people. We also have an increasing number of volunteers who regularly come and help us with the furniture allowing us to produce more lovely products for the shop and website.
What would you like to see more of in Glossop?
We would personally like to see more recycling of furniture and other items and less of the throw away culture. Perhaps some upcycling workshops or some education for younger people about upcycling things and throwing less things away would be beneficial to all.