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Bulky Bob’s renews appeal to help end furniture poverty in Liverpool

11 months ago

Bulky Bob’s renews appeal to help end furniture poverty in Liverpool
Credit: Bulky Bob's

In Second Hand September, the Liverpool collection service, Bulky Bob’s has renewed its appeal to help end furniture poverty across the city

Liverpool collection company Bulky Bob’s is renewing its mission to help end furniture poverty.

And in Second Hand September – Oxfam’s campaign encouraging everyone to shop second-hand to reduce waste and stand against climate control – the well-known city service is appealing to people to ‘reduce, reuse, and recyle’ to help them.

“There are so many people in need, and we’re not talking about deprived areas of the city. There are people in need in every road and every community across the Merseyside area,” says Kate Reilly James, marketing business partner. 

Credit: Bulky Bob's
Credit: Bulky Bob’s

“If a washing machine breaks, or a fridge stops working, hardly anyone’s got £300 sitting around to replace it these days. But through customer bookings, we can make items like these and much more, available free of charge to people experiencing furniture poverty.”

And she adds: “It’s a joy to help connect people in our communities and help make a real difference.”

For 22 years, Bulky Bob’s worked with Liverpool City Council, synonymous with the purple vans seen driving around the city, collecting unwanted bulk ‘waste’.

When it relaunched as a stand-alone company in February this year, it re-thought its aims – and its vans which are now pink! – with the focus not just to pick up the pre-loved furniture and white goods from people, but to then get it into the homes of others who needed it.

Credit: Bulky Bob's
Credit: Bulky Bob’s

“We reuse and recycle everything that’s of good quality and condition,” explains Kate. “Every item is cleaned, inspected; if there’s a bit of restoration or upcycling to be done, that happens in our warehouse, and then all of those items are made available, free of charge, to people in our communities who are experiencing furniture poverty.

“And our team and their customer service is second to none. It makes me burst with pride when customers call us or leave reviews about how kind and professional they are.

“Sometimes it might just be a wardrobe and a chest of drawers that they’re collecting, it’s an inanimate object, but that might have been a wedding present for a couple who’ve been married 50 years. We take care of it, we look after it, and it means the world that it’s going to somebody else who needs it and will love it like they did.”

The not-for-profit company, based in Brunswick Business Park, charges £30 to collect five items (a table and eight chairs, or a three-piece suite, is one item) to covers its cost, but neighbours can, and do, club together if they have items they no longer want or need.

Credit: Bulky Bob's
Credit: Bulky Bob’s

Bulky Bob’s – which started in Liverpool and now has operations in other areas across the North West – works with a wide range of referral agencies from charities to support groups and, still, Liverpool City Council, who give those in need a grant or ‘award’ to browse the items that are available.

“They can go online and choose what they want, and they have two weeks in which to look at items which are constantly updated, and effectively add them to their shopping list.

“Because we charge for the collections now we didn’t think it right to sell the items because people can do that for themselves and make money for themselves, and it’s another reason why hand in hand with the increased need we are seeing across Merseyside, all items are given away.

Credit: Bulky Bob's
Credit: Bulky Bob’s

“Anything in poor quality is not a problem, we will still collect it, but we will make sure that it’s recycled responsibly.”

She adds: “We will also go into people’s homes and move furniture and white goods, they don’t need to try and move it themselves or leave it outside where it can get damaged.”

But Kate says: “It all relies on us encouraging people to reuse and recycle, so we can reduce and ultimately eradicate furniture poverty. 

“We campaign to raise awareness and create practical solutions to get furniture to people who need it.”

For more info on Bulky Bob’s click HERE.

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