Furnishing charity grows corporate membership by 20%

A historic City of London livery company and its 120-year-old charity is proving increasingly relevant to the UK’s flourishing furnishing industry, having seen its corporate membership grow by a fifth over the last six months.

The period from September 2023 to March 2024 was a bumper half year for The Furniture Makers’ Company with a 20% uplift in the number of businesses in the sector joining the livery company. Businesses ranging from designer and high street furniture makers to bed manufacturers and retailers, fitted kitchens suppliers and suppliers serving the contract furnishings market, have all added their names to the organisation’s list of more than 400 corporate and individual members.

Among the newest members to apply to join the livery company are some of the UK’s best-known bed companies, Bensons for Beds, Dreams, Sleepeezee and Sealy; as well as distributors and manufacturers of kitchen, bedroom and office products, the Danesmoor Group; and long-established upholstery manufacturer Whitemeadow Furniture.

“With such a long and rich heritage of partnering with British furniture manufacturers and retailers, we’re excited not only to see marked growth in numbers of members, but also that The Furniture Makers’ Company has extended its reach and is now attracting more diverse businesses and individuals in the supply chain and connected with the sector,” comments Brian Ahern, Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company.

During the six-month period, The Furniture Makers’ Company welcomed more diverse members including the UK’s largest furniture repair business, the Emmiera Group; K&J Solutions, which are purchasing agents for the hospitality industry and work with four and five star hotels; and Alltruck, a leading provider of commercial transportation solutions for the sector. Corporate membership provides opportunities for leading businesses from the trade to support the Company’s charitable activities, get involved with civic events and network with other members.

“Our new members tell us that they want to be part of the future of our creative and dynamic industry and they see The Furniture Makers’ Company as helping them to play an active role in that, as well as providing numerous benefits from networking with their peers. In addition, the desire to ‘give back’ to colleagues in the sector via our charitable activities is a key driver for membership, along with a commitment to strengthening sustainability and developing training initiatives to ensure a long-term skilled workforce,” added Mr Ahern.

He continues: “Off the back of this growth, we have ambitious plans to further increase membership this year to enable us to sustain the UK’s thriving and vibrant furnishing industry and continue to support those in need within our ranks and those who have served the industry in the past.”

The Furniture Makers’ Company recently welcomed four liverymen, 10 new corporate liverymen and an honorary freeman during a ceremony at its June Court meeting on 25 June at Furniture Makers Hall, London.

The new liverymen are:

Geoffrey Fowler, CEO and principal, The London Design & Engineering University Technical College

Richard Griffin, membership director, The Furniture and Home Improvement Ombudsman

Dawn Hamlet, HR manager, The Furniture and Home Improvement Ombudsman

Derek Jones, subject lead, furniture T Level, The London Design & Engineering University Technical College

The new corporate liverymen are:

Jason Grinall, operations director, Emmiera Group

James Lane, CEO, Emmiera Group

Craig Hart, marketing and training director, Emmiera Group

Shelly Dickinson, head of people, Dreams

Michael Dingwall, director of production & quality, Dreams

Kelly Davis, head of internal and corporate communications, Dreams

Matt Richardson, head of manufacturing, Benson for Beds

Linda Sleath, Chief People Officer, Benson for Beds

David Jameson, commercial director, Benson for Beds

Paul Thomas, manufacturing manager, Sleepeezee

During the same ceremony, the Reverend George Bush was made an honourary freeman of the Company.

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