Business Model: Croydon Appliance Reuse Centre

Croydon Appliance Reuse Centre sells repaired and refurbished domestic appliances and furniture, with reduced prices for people on low incomes. It also offers on-the-job training for unemployed or disadvantaged people.

Croydon Appliance Reuse Centre
Croydon Appliance Reuse Centre


Croydon ARC was set up as a charity in 2004 with a grant from the East London Community Partnership. Goods are collected, either as public donations or through contracts with councils and universities, repaired in specialist workshops and then sold in two showrooms in Croydon.

What cannot be repaired is recycled, with only a fraction of the goods collected ending up in landfill.

Although the organisation's main sources of income are collection contracts and sales, Croydon ARC also receives grants from a number of different sources to help long-term unemployed and disabled people back into work.

"However, we're learning to survive without much of that funding," says Ray Barwick, the charity's general manager. "Croydon Council has recently cut much of its funding to the voluntary sector, which included a £25,000 grant to us. Although we're in the process of appealing against the cuts, we have to expect that there will be less grant funding around."

However, the charity also expects to attract new funding through the London Reuse Network, an alliance of reuse and recycling charities in the capital, which recently received an £8m grant and loan package from the London Waste and Recycling Board, as well as just over £2m in grants and loans from other sources.

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