Why is the Furniture Makers’ Company, the City of London livery company and charity for the furnishing industry, so relevant now?
Never in the 100-year history of the charity, apart from two world wars, has our industry and country faced such an extraordinary and unprecedented need for welfare support. In the past seven days we have seen a 600% week-on-week rise in page views of those seeking information about how we can help.
Reacting to the pandemic, we have created an interactive brochure that outlines the financial support that is available to furnishing industry workers. Please take a look at it and share it with co-workers, employees, your HR department so they can share it with everyone who works at your business. https://bit.ly/COVID19FMCsupport
So what is our aim?
Quite simply, to provide emergency grants within what is expected to be a high level of applications to offer a little assistance to lighten people’s load at this difficult time.
What do we award grants for?
Our charity was set up to help people from the furnishing industry in times of hardship. Although we want to help those in need as much as we can, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis, we have parameters as to what we can and cannot provide financial aid for. Emergency grants can be awarded for:
Essential household items
Essential household bills
General financial hardship
We can award a grant for a wide range of purposes and each application will be considered individually. As a guide, we often help with essential household bills, such as rent/mortgage, council tax, gas and electricity. Or with replacement items such as cooker, fridge or washing machine.
How we are already helping
Mark works as an upholsterer in the north of England. Due to coronavirus he has been furloughed and is awaiting the reduced pay guaranteed by the government. His wife is self-employed and she will have to wait until June for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to take effect. The couple continue to need to meet outgoing direct debits and pay for food. With little savings, they immediately felt stressed and anxious. We quickly assessed their application and could bring a little relief by awarding a hardship grant to the couple. Mark was very grateful for our assistance at this very difficult and stressful time.
Who can apply?
Those who have normally have a minimum of two years’ employment service in any capacity within the UK furnishing industry. This includes companies manufacturing/supplying furniture, kitchens or bathrooms; furniture stores carpet sales or fitting; beds, curtains and upholstery.
How will a grant be paid?
In many cases our grant will be paid to the creditor, supplier or contractor. This is so that we do not affect any state or local benefits that you might apply for such as universal credit or council tax support. However, given the emergency crisis many workers are currently facing, we can pay into your bank account. However, we will need to see a current bank statement showing full details of your address etc and one month’s transactions showing income and outgoings in order to do so.
If you award me a grant, will I have to pay anything back?
No. Our grants are not loans and we will never ask you to pay money back.
Will my employer have to know that I have applied for help?
No. Our service is entirely confidential, and we will never approach your employer unless you ask us to contact them to confirm your employment. We do ask for evidence that you have worked in the furnishings industry, but you can supply evidence such as pay slips, P60 or contract of employment.