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Isos boxes clever thanks to community project

ByDave Stopher

Sep 2, 2016


For the local housing provider is working with the community interest company which recycles and sells good quality furniture, at affordable prices, to people on low incomes.

Now, after an Isos property has been vacated and prior to it being cleared, Orange Box will be invited to collect any saleable furniture or electrical items that have been left behind by former tenants.

Marketed at low prices (from as little as £10 for a recycled bedframe and mattress, to £45 for a three-piece suite) the furniture can then be bought from Orange Box’s warehouse in Byker, Newcastle, by members of the public, with discounted rates offered to those on benefits or low incomes, and further discounts available to Isos tenants.

The new arrangement will also help reduce the cost of house clearances for the         not-for-profit housing association, as well as cut back on the quantity of unwanted furniture and household items going to landfill.

Orange Box was officially launched last week by Newcastle City councillor for the Byker ward, Coun. Veronica Dunn. She praised the company for its dynamic approach to helping local people and protecting the environment.

The brainchild of founder Irene Brown, who has led similar community projects in the Newcastle area, Orange Box opened in June with start-up funding from Government initiative Transmit Start-ups and Byker Old Town Partnership.

Now, its 6,500 sq ft warehouse on the Brough Park Trading Estate is full to the brim with good quality furniture donated by members of the public, local universities and private landlords, as well as organisations like the British Heart Foundation.

Covering the Durham and Newcastle area, a dozen volunteers help collect and deliver the furniture, man the warehouse, safety test electrical items, and run Orange Box’s busy social media sites – its main selling platforms.

The relationship with Isos will mark the start of a new chapter for the company.

Isos community involvement officer, Lindsey Porter, said: “Orange Box is a fantastic initiative, making the furniture and households goods we all take for granted, accessible to people on low incomes.

“Our tenants who might be struggling financially can finally turn their house into a home, without getting into debt to fund the things they need.

“And this arrangement will see Isos actively supporting the work of Orange Box, as well as helping us streamline our house clearance costs and the environmental impact of dumping unwanted furniture.

“It really is a win-win situation for everyone.”

Irene said: “We’ve had customers come to us who, for the first time in their lives, have been able to pay cash for something they need for their home, rather than being forced to take out punishing loans, or simply do without.

“We’re trying to do something that really helps local people and also benefits the environment and we’re delighted to be working with Isos to achieve these two, very important, aims.”

Orange Box customers can view items for sale through its Facebook site, or at its warehouse. Furniture can be reserved for up to seven days and delivered for a small fee. Unwanted items of furniture can be collected for free.

For more information about Orange Box go to www.orangeboxnortheast.org.uk or visit its Facebook page. For more information about Isos go to www.isoshousing.co.uk