The Leeds and Moortown Furniture Store has won a prestigious community initiative award. The Duke of York’s Community Initiative Awardis presented annually to a small number of Yorkshire based organisations which in the words of its assessment panel are: “of real value to the community, well run and an inspiration to others.”
The charity which is now based in a 10,000 sq ft warehouse in Seacroft began life in 1986 at Moortown Baptist Church when a small group of volunteers began collecting unwanted furniture and passing it on to people in need. That was more than a quarter of a century ago. Now the Store works alongside scores of voluntary and statutory referral agencies each year providing literally thousands of items of household furniture to socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and families in and around Leeds.
Whilst never losing sight of its core function its managing trustees have never shied away from a challenge and change. In 2000 for instance the Store created a social enterprise trading arm, LMFS Trading Ltd, which today sources and sells good quality, fairly priced new furniture to a growing number of local authorities and social housing projects. Even more recently the Store developed an innovative partnership with the charity shop arm of St George’s Crypt by passing on still serviceable but unsuitable items of furniture to the Crypt’s retail shop in Armley.
On hearing news of the award John Sherbourne, Chair of the L&MFS board of trustees said ”This is a tremendous tribute to everyone connected with the charity. It’s particularly pleasing because although L&MFS may not be one of the city’s high profile charities day in – day out our staff, our volunteers and our employment trainees provide a tremendous service to people in need.”