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Stevenage furniture body celebrates 60 years and a new strategy for growth

The Furniture Industry Research Association marked its recent 60th anniversary, new branding and considerable investment in its headquarters operation in Stevenage with an event attended by local MP, Stephen McPartland, who has recently taken on the role of Chair of the all-party Parliamentary furniture group (APPFG). 

We're delighted that despite difficult times within the industry, FIRA's membership is increasing, and we're proud of its 60 years of successful operation," said Chief Operating Officer Jonny Westbrooke, at the event. 

"We're known internationally as the leading organisation involved in furniture testing and standards, ergonomics and the environment, and our aim is to continue to grow and support the furniture industry in these areas.

"The Furniture Ombudsman, which works in partnership with furniture retailers to provide dispute solutions for consumers, also has its expert team based here.  The Ombudsman, too, is growing in reputation and there are a number of initiatives under way to raise its profile across the UK." 

Stephen McPartland, MP, answered, saying:  "As MP for Stevenage and newly-elected Chair of the APPFG, I'm delighted that both FIRA and The Furniture Ombudsman are based here in Stevenage.

"In my role at the APPFG, I will be championing furniture and looking to promote world-class expertise such as that offered here. I am pushing for Stevenage to be recognised as a centre for research and development and I'm proud of the furniture industry and the contribution it makes to the local economy.  Nationally, it employs over 120,000 people and is worth £8.3 billion to the economy."

Attendees at the event were able to visit FIRA's state-of-the-art testing laboratory and flammability area, where fire resistance of various products is tested. 

FIRA's newly-refurbished reception area now acts as a showcase for leading-edge furniture design.  David Keech of Keech Architects, who trained with Norman Foster and has his own practice in London and Hitchin, designed and sponsored the new reception area, along with Robin Phillips of Hitchmylius, who provided the reception chairs at cost, and Peter Hurley of Orangebox, who supplied the coffee table.

FIRA, with its unparalleled industry knowledge, raises performance throughout the furniture supply chain by offering research, information, testing, consultancy, customer service and after sales service to the furniture and DIY markets.

T: Inga Wells 01438 777792

E: iwells@fira.co.uk

26th November 2010

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