The Reusers — Jericho Foundation’s new venture is helping clients, boosting sales and adding social impact

Used_Furniture_in_Birmingham___Jericho_FoundationJericho Foundation has always been committed to creating employment opportunities through its social enterprises — and now it is able to create more than ever.

The company has successfully reversed the situation of around a decade ago, when — like many — the majority of its income derived from publicly funded contracts of various types. Now, nearly 90% of Jericho’s income derives from commercial sales through its social enterprises and the company receives no government funds of any description.

Jericho’s latest venture — and its most profitable — is The Reusers, a new initiative based in Sutton Coldfield which enables items destined for landfill to be salvaged, sold and re-used — in some of Birmingham’s most deprived communities.

Jericho was able to take over a derelict building and car park adjoining the tip and create a dedicated space for donating, recycling, re-using and buying and since opening a little over two years ago Reusers has:

» Sold close to 300,000kg of material that would otherwise be in landfill. It has a current stock holding of 150,000kg of items.

» Created around 9 full time and 2 part time jobs, 5 of which went to previously unemployed people and 1 to a survivor of human trafficking.

» Delivered 17 supported apprenticeship placements for formerly NEET young people, work experience to around 25 volunteers from schools, Dept of Education programmes and the local community, and around 1,000 people per week donate or buy from the business.

The project has generated sufficient income to be financially sustainable in the long-term.

I'd have a Reusers at every tip if I could manage to do it -- Richard Beard

I’d have a Reusers at every tip if I could manage to do it — Richard Beard

Jericho’s chief exec Richard Beard says, “Reusers is one of the best things we’ve ever done. It’s extremely profitable and the environmental benefits are huge. But more than this, the social impact is terrific. It is enabling us to extend our employment support and job creation work with ex-offenders and reach new groups such as victims of human trafficking. I’d have a Reusers at every tip if I could manage to do it!”

Jericho has opened two additional Reusers Community Stores in Balsall Heath and Small Heath which supply cheap goods to the local community. What a great story of social enterprise development and risk-taking in the pursuit of social benefit. Congratulations, Jericho!

Birmingham UK. Freelance research, evaluation and policy consultant specialising in social enterprise and the third sector. I maintain the BSSEC blog and website

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