Category: Community improvement
Mission: Sell low-cost carpets to low-income households
Kate Atkinson was working as a volunteer for a furniture recycling organisation in 2003 when she realised the demand for low-cost carpets.
Her solution was Spruce Carpets, which, as the name suggests, takes carpets and floor tiles from offices and homes and spruces them up for resale in the community. Customers come from the low-income estates in and around Glasgow – a city with some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in Western Europe.
The carpets and tiles are refurbished by a dozen workers undergoing rehab for alcohol or drug abuse, giving Spruce a second social dimension. Literacy and numeracy education and training in fork-lift truck certificates are included as part of the terms of employment. And if you factor in the reduction in material sent to landfill – a considerable issue since tiles are made from toxic substances which need careful treatment – there is a third reason to applaud Spruce Carpets.
Acting chief executive Ed Ferguson says the business model of Spruce is sound, too: “We were initially dependent on hand-outs from the government. Over the past six months, we’ve become completely self-sustaining, which will give us real independence. All profits will be reinvested back into Spruce, so we can continue to expand and help the local community.”
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