Kim’s story – National Volunteer Week 2017

By | Volunteer, Volunteering, Work based skills, Work Experience | No Comments

Kim

Around 15 years ago I was working as a residential support worker caring for people, I was not enjoying my work but had no experience in retail, which I wanted to do.

One day while shopping in a charity shop, I went to the counter to be served, I noticed the lady serving me was upset, so I asked if she was ok…. She broke down and started to tell me she lost her husband recently and the gentleman she had just served reminded her of him, I felt sorry for her, so when she informed me they needed volunteers I applied there and then.

The following week I started doing a few hours around my regular work, they started me of with distributing leaflets, collecting the donation sacks, working back of house sorting, and steaming stock, working front of house restocking rails, pricing stock, serving customers and helping while deputy or manager was off.

I was then informed of a vacancy for a paid position as deputy manager that going at new branch that was opening, and told to apply. I did not feel ready to do this so passed on it………6 months later this position came up again, again I refused to apply…. Thankfully my team members applied for me and I was interviewed, while working as a volunteer, I got the position.

From deputy manager, I went to temporary manager, back to deputy manager, then manager in less than 3 years. I learnt everything I needed as a volunteer.

For myself I had little confidence and struggled to show myself positively in an interview, so volunteering built my confidence, and gave me all the knowledge needed to work in this area.

It helped me to gain the skills and confidence I needed to successfully gain my role as a Retail Hub Supervisor at CT Furniture Wolverhampton.

I would advise that anyone that is at a loss, needs company, wants to belong, is looking to get back into work; volunteering is the best way of doing this. Not only does it opens doors, boost your confidence and self esteem but it also prepares you for the world of work; equipping you with new skills and gives you the opportunity to meet a range of new, interesting, helpful and supportive individuals.

If your interested in volunteering, visit our volunteer page to find out more.

Iris’s story – National Volunteer Week 2017

By | Volunteer, Volunteering, Work based skills, Work Experience | No Comments

Iris

Iris worked as a shop assistant until she had to have an operation.

I had an operation and when I had recovered I found that I was bored and wanted something to do, which is why I looked into volunteering. I already had experience of dealing with people so was happy that I could contribute my customer service skills. I’m a fairly patient person, which I also know can be helpful when trying to provide people with services that fits their needs.

In return for volunteering I was hoping to gain satisfaction and I feel that I achieve that on a daily basis at CT Furniture. I love working here and as well as helping others I have also gained confidence in IT by increasing my computer skills.

I see everyone at CT as a friend and I’m just glad that I get to do this on a daily basis.

If your interested in volunteering, visit our volunteer page to find out more

Isabel’s story – Volunteer Week 2017

By | Volunteer, Volunteering, Work based skills, Work Experience | No Comments

Isabel

“I began working at CT Furniture through a work placement in September 2015.

When I first started I found the work quite challenging but in all honestly I’ve had a really good time working here, as everyone I have met has become a second family to me.

Once my work placement was complete I decided that I wanted to stay on as a volunteer retail admin assistant, which I did in January 2016. Originally, I was looking to help by lending my administrative, customer service and sales skills, but I have now gone on to increase my marketing and social media skills, which has really boosted my confidence; so much so that when a vacancy became available for a retail admin assistant in September 2016, I applied and got the job.

I began working part time in paid employment as and then went on to secure a full time position retail managing the Wednesfield shop. This included serving customers, managing the shop floor, stock and our Facebook page, as well as responding to enquiries that came through to me on and off line.

I have also recently applied for a retail supervisor position and been successful! This all started from volunteering so it just goes to show how being a volunteer can help. I thoroughly recommend anyone thinking about volunteering to go for it, you never know where it may lead.”

If your interested in volunteering, visit our volunteer page to find out more.

Employment success with CT Furniture & Talent Match

By | Volunteer, Work based skills, Work Experience | No Comments

Without a job or daily activities to keep him busy, Ben would sit in his room listening to music all day. Being unemployed and unable to afford to do much, he became increasingly demotivated and depressed.

BenGoing to the job centre and attending appointments at employment support agencies was the only activity that kept him busy. Whilst attending his appointments Ben heard about Talent Match and got in touch with them to see how they could help him. After discussing his interests and employment goals with his local Talent Match support worker, a meeting was set up at CT Furniture Birmingham to see how Ben could contribute and gain additional work based skills at the charities second-hand furniture store.

The meeting was a success and Ben began volunteering as a retail assistant.

Whilst volunteering he helped to organise furniture around the store, completed a manual handling course and gained knowledge of different types and features of furniture. As Ben seemed to pick up tasks quite quickly, he was also asked to help with updating social media.

After 3 months of volunteering, Ben was invited to an interview for a job he had applied for. His interview was successful and he  was offered a job as a Production Operative.

“Volunteering has helped me to feel more confident in my own abilities. I’m more active, I don’t get depressed anymore and I  have a full time job that I’m really enjoying. Without volunteering I wouldn’t have been introduced to CT Furniture Birmingham and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet a great bunch of people who I now see as friends. I’m also really glad that I took a chance on Talent Match, they helped to guide and support me whenBig Lottery Fund I was stuck.”

Volunteer with CT Furniture.

 

What are fire safety labels?

By | Donations | No Comments

To accept and sell donated items to the public CT Furniture must comply with UK safety standards. To do this, we ensure that all donated upholstered furniture items have the relevant fire safety labels attached.

Fire safety labels can be found on external surfaces of items including underneath or on removable cushions. The images below will give you an idea of what a fire safety label looks like.

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If you have items to donate, please check that a fire safety label is attached to upholstered furniture items so that we can take them of your hands.

We also ask that items are in good condition so that they can be sold in store.

To donate items visit www.ctfurniture.org/donate

You don’t need to be on benefits to shop with us

By | Local Welfare Provision | No Comments

We’ve found that a number of individuals who have visited our stores have done so with the belief that you must be receiving benefits to buy items from CT Furniture. This is not true.

Our stores are open to people from all walks of life, although we do aim to ensure that our furniture is affordable for individuals on low incomes, which is why we work in partnership with Sandwell Council to provide recipients of low welfare provision with furniture.

The scheme aims to provide support where:

sandwell-council • A household does not have enough resources to meet an urgent need or crisis that poses an immediate and substantial risk to their health and safety. A crisis is an urgent need because of an emergency, disaster, unforeseen circumstance or a pressing need that is strikingly different from the normal pressures associated with managing on a low income.

• Someone is leaving care and needs essential household items to establish themselves in the community

• Someone needs essential household items to set up a home as part of a planned resettlement program.

To be able to get assistance through Sandwell’s LWP scheme, customers must:
• Be aged 18 or over
• Have been living in Sandwell immediately before requesting assistance

Be receiving one of the following benefits:
o Income Support
o Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
o Income related Employment and Support Allowance
o Pension Credit (Guarantee Element only).
o Universal Credit – Where you qualify for the full Allowance (i.e. There are no deductions for employment)

CT Furniture Sandwell work in partnership with Sandwell’s LWP to provide the following:
• Furniture / White Goods – All furniture will be good second hand furniture except for white goods and mattresses.

To access Sandwell’s LWP scheme, you will need to go to your local neighbourhood office in Sandwell to be referred to the scheme.

For more information visit http://bit.ly/CTFLWP to find available furniture visit our Sandwell Store’s Facebook Page.

Don’t forget that if you’re not receiving benefits we have furniture available to you too!

Electrical items and PAT

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Donating Electrical Itemsjohn-pat-test-2

Picture this; you’ve just had a clear out and found a number of electrical (and other items) that you no longer use or need. Being conscious of the fact that donating to charity is a great way to give back and that ‘one person’s junk is another’s treasure,’ you decide to take your hoard to the charity shop, only to be told ‘we don’t accept electrical items.’

What do you do next…leave frustrated? If this has been the case, this is where we step in to let you know why some charity shops don’t accept electrical items and others do (including us.)

What is PAT?

PAT is short for Portable Appliance Tests. As sellers of second-hand items john-pat-test-3we are responsible for ensuring that electrical goods meet legal safety requirements. To do this we PAT all donated electrical items, so that our customers don’t get any nasty shocks once they leave our stores.

The majority of PAT’s carried out across CT Furniture stores are completed by our volunteers, who dedicate their time to ensure your items are safe.

We are very lucky to have individuals who are willing to volunteer to carry out PATs, however a number of other charities are not, which is why you may find some charities that do not take or resell electrical items.

John is a volunteer who has been carrying out PAT’s at our Birmingham branch for just over 2 years ‘I was trained by CT Furniture to carry out PAT and I work to ensure that items are safe for customers to take john-pat-test-1home. All we ask is that individuals who are donating electrical items ensure they are in working order, otherwise we are unable to accept electrical items that are in need of repair.

So there you have it. If you would like to donate electrical items visit Your Local Store.

Don’t forget to tell your friends too.

 

Volunteering & Work Placements

By | Volunteer, Work based skills, Work Experience | No Comments

Michael Ethridge

Michael has worked at CT Furniture Birmingham as a part of a work based placement for the past 6 months

What have you enjoyed?

I’ve enjoyed helping to move around the warehouse and displaying items and arranging furniture so that customers can see what we have on sale.

It’s a very active job so it gets me out of the house, gives me exercise and I get the chance to meet new people and make new friends. I also enjoy being whilst out on the vans, collecting furniture and in the warehouse.

How has it helped you gain new skills?

My customer service and problem solving skills have increased as I get to talk to customers and help them find what they need and solve any issues they may have.

My experiences at CT Furniture have also helped me consider things from a customers perspective,  so that I can reduce potential problems before they arise.

This has given me more confidence as well as giving me new skills that I can add to my CV for future employers to see.

Once my work placement is complete I will continue to volunteer  until I find a job as I’ve really enjoyed my time at CT Furniture; the staff are really friendly and easy going and it is this that makes CT furniture a really nice environment to work in.

If you are interested in completing a work placement or volunteering, get in touch with your local store or visit our volunteer page