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RAW collaborates with Morgan Sindall Construction and Oxford Brookes University to deliver sustainable furniture

Morgan Sindall Construction have completed work on the Elm building at Oxford Brookes University’s Clive Booth Student Village. The Elm building is one of four buildings being created as part of the first phase of the redevelopment of the University’s accommodating site, delivering 515 new en-suite rooms and social spaces for the 2024/25 academic year. Handed over to the University ahead of Semester Two of the current academic year, the Elm building can provide up to 98 students with sustainable and attractive accommodation as part of Oxford Brookes’ Headington Campus.

As part of the fit-out at the student accommodation site, Morgan Sindall and the University worked collaboratively with social enterprise RAW and the scheme’s architects Mica to produce a high quality design. RAW have delivered the first 14 sets of an overall project of 80 stylish RAW 300 range benches and tables in the communal kitchen areas – with tops all made of 100% recycled domestic appliances. 

RAW is a social enterprise that specialises in making high-quality, sustainable indoor and outdoor furniture in Oxford that has both social and environmental value. RAW employs people who have overcome some of life’s most adverse scenarios, with 70% of its workforce having fought and won against challenges including addiction, mental health issues, and criminality previously.

RAW prides itself on the high quality of its products and services, which in turn tackles prejudice and preconceptions of what people who’ve had diverse experiences can become and achieve.

United with their embedded social value the RAW 300 range sets also deliver on sustainability goals. They are designed incorporating tops that are 100% recycled and 100% recyclable. Using the internal plastic from domestic fridges destined for waste, the RAW 300 delivers a more sustainable, attractive and hard wearing option.

Alongside the new furnishings, RAW’s Recycling Service has also collected offcuts from construction from the Morgan Sindall site. 50% of the waste collected is then given a second life by RAW in products or resold to the local community. The Morgan Sindall team have purchased picnic benches and upcycled office chairs from RAW for their own use.

Steve Vaux, Operations Director for Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “The redevelopment of Clive Booth Student Village was created to make a sustainable and social home-from-home for students, so RAW was a natural fit when it came to furnishing the interior. It’s great to work with such an inspirational social enterprise which has a profound social impact in the immediate area. The furniture is exceptional, and we can’t wait for the students to enjoy them.”

“The fact that our social principles are closely aligned with Oxford Brookes University and RAW really supercharged our collaborative partnership. The project’s success is a great showcase for the various ways a development can generate benefits for the local area, as not only were we engaging the local supply chain, with RAW situated very close to the site, but we provided valuable opportunities and support to people from the local area with challenging backgrounds. What’s more, by using recycled materials we’re driving down the building’s carbon footprint to provide a truly sustainable environment for students and the local community.” 

Mark Tugwell, Deputy Director of Estates & Campus Services at Oxford Brookes University, said: “We partnered with RAW due to their high-quality furniture, commitment to sustainably sourced materials, and inspirational social impact which continues to change lives. For a project as important as the redevelopment of Clive Booth Student Village, we are ensuring that the living spaces for our students are of the highest quality. RAW worked closely with us to ensure their final product met this standard and I am sure students will love the furniture and the fact that it is made out of old domestic appliances.”

Rick Mower, Managing Director of RAW said: “The commitment from Morgan Sindall and the team at Oxford Brookes University to truly embed social and sustainability value at scale has been inspiring. At RAW we set out to prove, by the quality of our products and services, that a person’s past doesn’t define them and this project has been a perfect platform to do that. It highlights that visionary and determined leadership on the client and main contractor side is what ultimately makes the difference, powering real change in society with no compromises on project delivery.”