The Role

Spruce is looking to strengthen its Trustee group with the appointment of up to four new Trustees to support us during what is an exciting time in our development.

Our Environmental and Social agendas have always been at the forefront of the work we have carried-out over the last sixteen years, and our aim is to amplify our impact in the coming years. Our activities focus mainly on the diversion and reuse of post manufactured flooring materials, (mainly carpets and vinyl’s) ensuring these upon are routed to low, or no income households to provide good quality, affordable floor coverings – helping turn houses into homes. We also deliver a range of employment and volunteering opportunities, both within Spruce and via several host organisations within the reuse, repair and recycle sector in Glasgow.

We are looking for people with a passion for social enterprise who can bring a range of skills to our board to help ensure we deliver on our growth and diversification strategy. We would love to speak to people with knowledge, skills and experience in the following areas:

  • Finance – operational finance and or strategic investment
  • Digital/Non-digital Marketing and Communications – with a particular set of skills focused around web and social media marketing
  • The Circular Economy
  • Fundraising and or Business Development
  • Commercial Flooring

We welcome applications from anyone with the relevant skills, experience and commitment. We would particularly welcome applicants from under-represented groups, including:

  • People from Black & Minority Ethnic backgrounds
  • People under 50
  • People with disability or health condition

Application Notes

The trustee board meets formally four times per annum, either via Teams/Zoom or in person as restraints and circumstances allow. Meeting last approximately 2 to 3 hours dependent upon the agenda items.

We have also evolved a regimen of ‘Touch-Base’ calls which act as an ad-hoc way for trustees to connect out with our fixed quarterly board meetings. These calls can be requested by the Chair, trustees or CEO and usually last no-more than one hour. Touch-base calls generally have a single item or issue that trustees or our CEO need to discuss or take collective advice on.

Primary Role of Trustees

The primary role of our trustees is to ensure we are:

  • Ensuring Spruce is carrying out its purpose for the public benefit
  • That Spruce complies with our governing document and all statutory and or regulatory requirements
  • Acting in Spruces best interests
  • Managing our resources responsibly
  • Acting with reasonable care and skill in the execution of our duties
  • Accountable for decisions and actions taken
  • To provide functional advice and guidance in keeping with individual expertise or experience to support the staff team if required

Applications close 20th July 2021 – for more information or chat please email or call Austin Hardie on the details below:

austin@sprucecarpets.org.uk

Tel:07792092431

www.sprucecarpets.org.uk

 

Overview for Spruce

Spruce Carpets Limited was incorporated sixteen years ago in February 2005 as Scotland’s first carpet recycling social enterprise. Currently we are Scotland’s only Revolve Accredited floor covering Re-Use Social Enterprise. Our aims are three-fold:

      1. To increase the diversion and reuse levels associated with post manufacturing flooring materials in Scotland and across the UK,
  1. To provide free and low-cost flooring to low income households, helping people create and maintain comfortable homes, and
  2. To maximise the potential of our staff team, volunteers, and work experience placements to ensure they all can grow and develop as individuals.

 

In pursuing the above aims we recognise the central importance of those organisations who, sharing our passion for the environment, have taken the decision to support Spruce through the donation of the high-quality flooring materials which in turn allows us to directly support individuals and families along with many third sector and charitable organisations.

  • To increase the diversion rate from landfill of post-manufacture floor coverings and ensure these are made available to low, or no income individuals, families, and voluntary organisations.

In driving at the above aim we work with a wide range of commercial flooring organisations from whom we source flooring donations – these organisations share the same aims as Spruce, working with us to keep bulky materials out of landfill sites in Scotland. We also receive donations of new, end of line floor vinyls from commercial manufactures and suppliers – again reducing the volume waste going to landfill.

Carpet tiles have always been a throw-away product of commercial re-fit. For Spruce there is an opportunity to engage with contractors and sub-contractors to uplift carpet tiles prior to demolition or take-downs and to refurbish these for resale/reuse as a commercial product. Spruce will uplift, remove and re-use carpet tiles from business premises thereby supporting the organisations Corporate Social Responsibility ethos. We can also certify the volume of “waste” material diverted and in doing so quantify the organisations contribution to their own and the wider environmental agenda. Our reclamation, refurbishing and re-using of carpet tiles in addition to reducing the waste of viable material, contributes to reducing aggregate energy consumption. Fewer of the world’s resources are used in the manufacture of floor coverings as we provide a re-use service.

  • To provide free and low-cost flooring to households on low income, helping people create and maintain warm and comfortable homes.

Everyone deserves a warm, comfortable, and well-maintained home. At Spruce we realise that for a significant number of people across our communities achieving this can be challenging. Therefore, working with partners from Local Authorities, Housing Association, Homelessness Charities, Community Support Organisations, and individuals, we aim to make sure that as many people and organisations as possible have access to our donated flooring materials.

We also can provide new flooring to customers and organisations should they wish it. All surpluses generated from our trading activities are reinvested in the social purpose of the charity to allow us to deliver on our three-fold aims.

We believe that through the diversion and reuse of quality flooring we help are tackling at least some part of helping low/no income families and individuals access good quality furnishings at affordable prices, thereby helping reduce pressure on already stretched personal budgets.

  • In delivering the above we want to amplify our wider impact by creating opportunities for individuals to access volunteering, training and or work experience with Spruce.

Many of the people coming to Spruce have experienced challenges in life, whether simply because of their economic standing, or on many occasions, because of related worklessness, homelessness, addiction, health condition and or disability issues – and invariably a combination of one or more of these circumstances.

Our aim has always been to look at how we provide opportunities for people experiencing these aspects of life to come to Spruce where we will work with them to help improve their chances of gaining meaningful employment through the support and training we can offer.

Each year we have around 20 volunteers taking part in our programme, all of whom we believe benefit in terms of their confidence, social skills, work skills and self-esteem.

In 2021 we have actively engaged in the UK governments Kickstart programme where we aim via internal and external placements to offer up to 30 young people the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the reuse, repair and recycle sector in Glasgow

Trading Surpluses and Our Financial Model

At the heart of our social enterprise approach is the principle of not becoming over reliant on the public grant stream to support the work we do.

At present over 90% of our income is revenue is derived from our trading activity through direct sales to the general public, the provision of refurbished carpet tiles to or revenue generated from the supply and fitting of new, sustainably sourced carpet (where reuse isn’t available or wanted) to local authority housing and homeless units or charitable institutions supporting homeless and vulnerable people into tenancies. We also work with several housing association to provide flooring to tenants experiencing hardship.

Over the last sixteen years Spruce has been prudent with finance, working hard to build reserves ensuring that we will always be able to meet our obligations in relation to ensuring we remain a viable charitable concern. We have established a fixed regime of annual budgeting and quarterly reforecasting along with the provision of monthly management accounts.

The Forward Strategy

During 2019 the Board of Spruce along with the senior staff members reviewed our charitable purpose and reaffirmed the view that we believed Spruce has a necessary purpose in making a contribution to the broader Environmental, Social and Economic objectives of Scotland and in particular of Glasgow City. As such our commitment to developing the enterprise was restated and reinforced at the board/staff away-day held in late 2019. This session agreed that Spruce should and could look to make a bigger social impact in future by growing the scale of what we do across all three aspects of the organisation and in progressing this we should set-out our ambition for increased social, environmental and financial impact in our Forward Strategy.

Specific agreement was reached on the following elements of the Forward Strategy – all elements have subsequently been reviewed and re-affirmed in the light of the Covid pandemic:

  • By the end of 2022 we want to be reusing/diverting a minimum of 150 tonnes of flooring per annum, placing particular emphasis on expanding the volume of donated carpet received from manufactures and suppliers. As part of this drive to increase diversion volumes we will redouble our efforts to develop our carpet tile reuse business and establish a stronger brand in this important segment of the reuse flooring market.
  • We will continue to seek high quality, post manufacture, floor covering donations and ensure we can offer these at affordable prices to low/no income households.
  • In addition to reuse flooring we will continue to retail low cost ‘new’ floor coverings to both domestic and commercial customers with any financial surplus generated from this activity being reinvested in the joint environmental and social purposes of Spruce. New carpet purchases will be sourced from the most sustainable sources possible within the purchasing power we have.
  • Spruce will seek during 22/23 new opportunities to development its employment, training, and volunteering programme. We will commit to providing a rolling programme of 30 work experience places per annum directly or in-directly through partner organisations to unemployed individuals who need help to secure permanent job opportunities in the wider labour market as part of the UK governments ‘Kickstart’ programme. Our commitment to volunteering will remain as strong as ever and working alongside supportive grant funders we will aim to offer approximately 20 short-term volunteering places per annum.
  • Our current premises in the South West of Glasgow have served us well over the years but it’s apparent that we require to secure new or additional premises which offer Spruce more scope to improve operational delivery, expand our warehousing and sales provision and provide better welfare facilities for the staff team at Spruce. We will consider various options for this priority in line with the broader growth potential and the financial commitments of the organisation with the aim of being in new premises by the end of 2022.
  • Strengthening our brand awareness, attracting potential donors, and connecting with a greater number of customers must be a fundamental priority for us. Making sure that we can do this in the most efficient way is equally important. Modernising our digital capabilities in donor management, e-commerce and business process needs to be at the heart of our future strategy and investment plan.
  • Growing our social impact in any or all three strands needs to be considered in the context of securing the future of the organisation financially. Building re-investable surplus and reducing our over reliance on a single customer must therefore be a strategic priority.
  • The Board affirmed that it would be open new opportunities to diversify through working collaboratively with like-minded organisations willing to consider different approaches to meeting their mission – these approaches might be as narrow as collaborative bidding, sharing common costs, or as broad as a full organisational merger of the enterprises into a new entity. Our aim would be to have established a meaningful collaboration, or merger during 22/23.

We understand that if we are to grow in line with our aspirations then we may need access to growth capital and that it’s likely that a combination of our own financial reserves and the right blend of social investment will be required to underpin growth. We want therefore to secure investment in such a way as to reflect our medium to long-term ambitions, but without placing an unrealistic financial burden on Spruce will be actively pursued.

Staff Team and Organisational Structure

Our staff team are a tremendously committed group of people. Everyone understands the challenge of delivering on our environmental and social aims at Spruce and we make every effort to ensure that we have a well-trained and knowledgeable group of colleagues ready and willing to support our donors, customers, and partners whenever they need it. Many of our staff team joined Spruce originally as volunteers and have transitioned to valued team members – for which we are grateful. We are also a Living Wage and Disability Confident Employer because we believe these things to be important and impactful.

Please click the link below to access our role specification.

Trustee Specification click here