Welfare support for the KBB industry

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By Jonny Westbrooke, chief executive at The Furniture Makers’ Company:

We have a natural propensity to believe nothing bad will ever happen to us. We go through life with blinkers on, naively thinking that we’re immune to the troubles only others have to deal with.

No one ever sees themselves getting to the point where they’ve exhausted all other options available to them and are on the brink of despair.

One seemingly insignificant problem causing a second issue to arise, which is then compounded by another. Before you know it, this series of unfortunate events has snowballed and left you feeling helpless with nowhere to turn.

Does this sound familiar? No? Well count yourself lucky. However – and forgive me if this sounds rather depressing and not what you want to read – it doesn’t mean something will never happen to you.

This is where The Furniture Makers’ Company comes in. Our charity has been supporting workers within the furnishing industry for more than 100 years. Today we support current or former employees who have fallen on hard times by providing applicants with grants and other financial assistance. They could be for essential house repairs, help with the cost of making hospital visits, or even a respite break.

Every story is different and we consider each one. Take Peggy’s story for example.

Peggy lives with her daughter Sharon and dog Joey in their cosy bungalow. Sharon is dependent on her mother and Peggy’s husband, Ron, died 12 years ago, at the age of 83.

Peggy had worked at a furniture shop in High Wycombe and so qualified for a small annuity from our charity. But when she recently received a large bill for essential plumbing work she was very worried.

“We didn’t know where to turn,” she says, “until we remembered The Furniture Makers’ Company.”

We were able to help settle the bill and we also visited Peggy and her daughter at home to make sure they were comfortable.

This is just one example of how we’ve helped someone from the furnishing industry. And before you ask, yes the Kitchen Bedroom Bathroom sector is included within our definition of furnishing!
It may not be you that needs our help, it may be a colleague of yours or even a retired worker, like Peggy, who you still keep in contact with.

If you do need some support, please get in touch and let us help you. You have given part or all of your working life to making this great industry what it is, and we want to be there for you in return.

For more information about applying for a welfare grant, please contact:

Robin Lomas, welfare officer at The Furniture Makers’ Company
or by calling 020 7256 5558.

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