SOFA Project's charitable status and purpose is based on three elements. Firstly, providing good quality furniture and appliances to people and families in need (prices are set so as to be affordable to people on benefits); secondly, diverting material from going as waste to landfill; and thirdly collaborating with local prisons to provide workplace rehabilitation opportunities to offenders who are approaching the end of long custodial sentences.
The public benefit generated by SOFA Project is principally the impact on families' wellbeing created by their being able to buy household goods from SOFA at prices substantially less (around 25%) than from most other retail sources in Bristol. Other benefits include SOFA's rehabilitative activities to reduce re-offending, and of course everyone benefits from less landfill.
Not-for-profit SOFA Project helped over 4,700 families in 2009/10 by supplying over 3,000 items of furniture and almost 2,400 domestic appliances. In doing so, over 450 tonnes of material were diverted from landfill or unnecessary recycling. 27 long term prisoners learned new skills, and some 510 other offenders worked hundreds of hours of 'Community Payback' service, under the supervision of the Probation Service. SOFA is indeed a 'triple bottom line' outfit - a genuine 'Social Enterprise'.