April 05, 2022

Furnishing Social Impact Housing with Lotus Sanctuary

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When we say LOFT are a People First company, it is not just an empty phrase used to give an impression of positive company ethics. People First is a commitment to people across all facets of our business and it is an ethos that we live and breathe. Our relationship with people is a two-way system; we use people’s views and thoughts, both inside and outside the company, to navigate us through our decisions across the residential property sector. And in return, we wish to provide people with a simplistic furnishing experience and the opportunity of an elevated interior experience within the place they call home.

 

A Joined Passion, Driven by People

 

Part of our commitment to people is giving as many people as possible equal opportunities to enjoy beautiful and comfortable interiors. Everyone should have the opportunity to call a place home and have a sanctuary to feel safe and comforted in. That is why we partner with Lotus Sanctuary, a UK based community interest company with the pure intention of housing and empowering people across the country who are facing homelessness. A company that we share a vision and ethos with of creating a better future for all by starting with giving people the security of a home refuge.

 

Having started in 2018 with the humble beginnings of one property aiming to house people who were sleeping rough in the streets, Lotus Sanctuary is currently operational across the UK with over 400 units of transitional housing. They wish to provide units of accommodation for its residents that provide inspiration and a fresh perspective, while experiencing what the comforting cradle of a home can feel like. But to experience a home unit in this way, the interiors must match the aspirations set for the aspirations of the project – that’s where LOFT comes in.

 

Upcycling Furniture to Upgrade Interiors

 

As it is a vulnerable demographic of people Lotus work with to re-home, striking the right feeling within the home units is essential to ensuring they feel immediately at ease when they are introduced to them. To achieve this, the quality of interiors and furnishing goes a huge way to creating a homely feeling. We proudly donate a large range of LOFT furniture to furnish the homes within the Lotus Sanctuary network, from beds and sofas to chairs and tables and everything in between. The majority of the furniture supplied is either returned orders or ex-display. In some companies, this category of furniture would be counted as “unusable” – but not at LOFT. We saw the opportunity to not only help people in need and help create authentic home environments but also keep the landfills that bit emptier by upcycling our furniture to give it a second life.

 

Part of LOFT’s partnership with Lotus is to provide a turnkey furnishing solution for homes within the Lotus Sanctuary housing network, using core and surplus stock at an agreed lower price point to help support the cause and create homes that are immediately ready to be lived in. Being in the position to positively contribute to such a worthy cause and create crucial interiors across the social impact housing sector is such a meaningful branch of our work and allows us to give back to the collective community that has supported us as a company throughout the years.

 

Another huge part of our work with Lotus is through their new retail branch - Lotus Sanctuary has evolved its foundation to set up a retail arm, Lotus Living. Lotus Living helps to provide Lotus beneficiaries with their ‘Passport to Independence’ – it creates opportunities for people to build life skills through employment roles ranging across store-based roles, warehouse-based roles and online retail positions. This offers a clear and open path for Lotus residents to break into the employment sector and garner some experience in a setting that will support their personal development and set achievable goals to strive towards. LOFT donate samples, graded stock and furniture we have previously removed from properties across the UK as part of our replenishment solution – Lotus Living benefits massively from these donations and goes a long way to bolstering this innovative re-employment solution.

 

LOFT’s Commitment to People

 

As well as contributing positively to creating homely and inspiring spaces for people transitioning from homelessness, our partnership with Lotus ensures we can go a long way to hitting the ambitious company-wide sustainability targets we set for ourselves. Our ambition to operate more sustainably drives us toward the same vision we aim to achieve through our partnership with Lotus Sanctuary – to create a better future for all by positively impacting what is in our control.

 

Our years of experience in contributing to charities across the UK have reinforced our commitment to continuing to give back to our wider community. Our donations have helped numerous people over the years, through Barnardo’s, Mustard Tree, Housing 4 Women, British Heart Foundation and Motiv8, among many others. Our furniture donations come in the form of regular collections from the Mustard Tree and Embassy, and donation applications from other charities.

 

These donations provide furniture for people in a time of need, often when people have been recently re-homed and have nothing of their own and helps provide a space of their own that is so vital in contributing to a positive home image. Interiors that fit the ambitious nature of these charities are a key part of giving less-fortunate people receiving the help a hopeful future to aim towards.

 

The Origin of LOFT’s Regenerative Foundations

 

LOFT’s ethos of People First was not plucked from thin air – it is a vision that has been manufactured through generations of experience, dealing with real people and building from the ground up. LOFT’s Founder and Managing Director, Benjamin Hall, gives some insight into the family-led journey LOFT has undertaken to be in the position where we can contribute so positively to the wider community today:

Established in 1976, my Grandfather and my Father set up a business selling quality used furniture from a showroom in south Manchester, Chattels Ltd. LOFT continued this trend from the off by starting life selling recycled furniture, this is not a trend to us, it's been in our blood for generations! I worked in our family business from age 12 and came up with the idea for LOFT here, based upon increasing expectations of modern residents, second-hand furniture became undesirable, so we started supplying new furniture to landlords. 

Used Furniture 3

 

Part of our current USP of Delivered, Assembled & Installed, was based upon my hatred for assembling flat-packed furniture – I wished to make a more desirable and stress-free experience for people aiming to furnish their property. The second part of LOFT’s USP, Removed, Replaced & Recycled, was born out of a "win-win" situation, whereby the goods we removed, were then sold at my Father's shop.

 

Didsbury Shop 1

 

Now, in a world where sustainability credentials, ESG and CSR commitments are critical for any commercial enterprise, LOFT has been setting the standards since 1976 – and we don’t plan on slowing down. Striving to continue our family tradition of recycling, upcycling pre-used furniture, collectables and antiques, LOFT has been committed to reducing our carbon footprint by avoiding landfills. We have been giving used furniture accumulated through our replenishment solution a second life since we began our journey back in 2003 and will continue to do so for years to come"

Get Involved & Make a Difference

 

Lotus Sanctuary offers a number of ways in which you can make a positive difference and combat homelessness across the UK. We have the power to create a better future for vulnerable people who are not as fortunate and do not have the tools at their disposal to shape their situation. Whether it is by donating, volunteering or fundraising, our collective contributions could be the difference in transforming people’s lives for the better.

See how you can get involved and make a positive difference here.

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"We at Lotus Sanctuary are thrilled to receive such kind donations from LOFT. Thomas was incredibly helpful each step of the way, regularly communicating any updates and easily arranging deliveries. The furniture we received has helped us in a number of ways and we can’t thank you enough.

Several items have been identified as being suitable to furnish bedrooms and living spaces for our residents, many of whom come to us with limited belongings of their own. 100% of the bedding donated will also be gifted to any residents in need.

The remaining furniture will be sold by our newly established retail operation, Lotus Living, which seeks to generate income to help us in our mission to eradicate homelessness.

We are delighted to work with LOFT and are excited by our partnership and shared future"

Cherry Whiteside – Partnership Manager, Lotus

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“Working in Partnership with Lotus has allowed us both to make an increased positive contribution to people in need. The staff at Lotus are an incredible team and they've achieved an amazing amount of progress in a short amount of time.

We look forwards to continuing our donations to Lotus and helping them increase their revenue through their retail shops in addition to donating directly to their service users.”

Thomas Cockburn - Customer Service & Operations Executive, LOFT

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To find out more on community

Download our Build To Regenerate - Vol. #3 Community publication