Monday: I head to youth homelessness charity Stepping Stones in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, with a team of eager volunteers and a van full of furniture. Like Family First, it is part of the LHA-ASRA Group, an alliance of housing and regeneration services in the midlands, London and the south east. We are kitting out its communal lounge and kitchen, so it's out with the old and in with the (nearly) new. Lots of puffing and several cups of tea later, the facelift is complete. The residents are pleased with the result and we leave them to enjoy their new lounge.
Tuesday: Off to Worksop for the second meeting of the Nottinghamshire Furniture Forum. It's a chance for staff from furniture recycling projects in the area to get together, share ideas and discuss ways to work more effectively with local authorities and customers. I am pleased representatives from Nottinghamshire County Council have joined us today. We're hoping to work more closely with the council, providing furniture and white goods to tenants who cannot afford essential items.
Wednesday: I spend the day in the 'office', which doubles up as a warehouse and a charity shop. I've arranged for a training company to come and talk to the team about Train to Gain, the government initiative to help employers increase the skills of their workforce. We have 65 staff and volunteers here, and I'm keen to give them the chance to do NVQs in warehousing, retailing and IT. I want to expand our services; extra training will help us prepare for that.
Thursday: A mountain of paperwork calls me. As part of LHA-ASRA, we are feeding ideas into a group-wide care strategy. The furniture recycling project plays a vital part, complementing the rest of our care services by helping tenants sustain their tenancies and settle into their new homes. We provide everything, from large items of furniture to bargain electrical goods.
Friday: A trip to Birmingham to meet a potential supplier of used white goods. We opened a new white goods refurbishment centre at the end of last year; it has been fitted with specialist plumbing and electrics so we can test washing machines, fridges and freezers. Our staff have completed training in reconditioning, so soon we will be saving lots more appliances from landfill and putting them back in homes.
Family First is a Nottingham charity that provides housing, care and support and recycling services