The Furniture Makers’ Company, the City of London livery company and charity for the furnishing industry, is encouraging anyone who has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to get in touch to see if they qualify for a Personal Support Grant – a financial grant that will help relieve pressure during this difficult time.
However, maybe you have heard a rumour that you believe disqualifies you from being able to receive a grant from us. There are some common myths and recurring misconceptions that we’ve heard from people that we want to put to bed.
Myth: Only members can apply for support
This could not be further from the truth. The Furniture Makers’ Company is the City of London livery company and charity for the furnishing industry. People in the trade can join the livery company as a member but the charity exists to support anyone who works or has ever worked in the UK furnishing industry, member or not.
Myth: The charity only helps furniture makers
Not at all. We do support furniture makers of course, but we can help anyone working in the furnishing industry. Whether you’re an installer in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom sector, a seamstress at a bed manufacturer, a salesperson at a retailer, an administrator at a fabric supplier, or a designer at a contract furniture dealer, and anything in between, we can be there for you.
Myth: Support is only available for retirees or those out of work
This is not true – we help colleagues in all stages of their career. We find that the people with the most pressing needs are often those of working age, needing help to keep a roof over the heads of themselves and their families, when difficult times overtake them, such as accidents, ill health or a relationship breakdown. Working-age people with little or no savings, paying high rents or expensive mortgages are extremely vulnerable to any loss of income due to adverse life events for themselves or family members.
Myth: The application process is long and invasive
This is false. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we have pared back the application form to make it as quick and simple as possible so that we can process them with haste and get money into the applicant’s account within a few days. All the information that we ask for is necessary to perform due diligence to ensure that our funds go towards those who need it. If you have any questions about the application form, our welfare officer will be happy to talk them through with you.
Myth: You can’t apply if you have savings
This isn’t true as long as you don’t have savings in excess of £16,000. In line with the state benefits system and many other grant giving charities, we will accept applications from people in the trade with savings under £16,000 as long as they meet our other criteria.
Myth: We’ll inform your work if you apply
Nope, 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 a redundancy letter, if you’ve been made redundant. Nobody has to know about your application to us if you don’t want them to, however we would encourage you to recommend us to friends and colleagues at your existing or former place of work, as they may be unaware of how we can help them. This will be entirely your decision though and we will never force you to do anything you’re not comfortable with doing.