JOHN LEWS, in partnership with suppliers Hypnos, H.Dawson and Dalehead, is launching a new range of mattresses this week that, for the first time ever, will be made with wool provided by Waitrose sheep farmers.

Once a highly valued commodity in the UK, wool has been under-utilised for decades, with the price offered not even covering the cost of shearing, let alone transportation.This has led to hundreds of thousands of tonnes of high-quality British wool being wasted for decades, with farmers being forced to burn or bury it after shearing.Now, by partnering with Waitrose’s long-serving sheep farmers, this highly sustainable and natural fibre will once again be put to good use, in a move the John Lewis Partnership hopes will raise awareness of the issue, drive demand for British wool and – in doing so, raise its value for the benefit of sheep farmers all over the UK.

Jake Pickering, Senior Agriculture Manager at Waitrose, comments: “Wool used to sustain entire economies but it has declined in value so dramatically that British farmers are now in some cases having to dump it. “We are in a fortunate position in running a Partnership that operates both a supermarket and a home department store, so we saw an opportunity to make a difference to our farmers and the environment by ensuring the quality wool they’re producing is not wasted. “We hope that in doing this, we will raise awareness of this issue and restore British wool’s status as the highly valued and high quality British commodity it used to be.”

Wyn Evans NFU Cymru Livestock Board Chairman said: “Two years ago NFU Cymru welcomed Waitrose’s support to Welsh sheep producers with their commitment to source UK and Welsh lamb all year round. “Today’s announcement will be a further boost to a number of their suppliers who at this current time are receiving very little for their wool.

“Wool is a natural, sustainable and environmentally friendly fibre that, among many other unique qualities, is temperature regulating and naturally flame resistant.”Furthermore, Welsh and British wool producers have some of the highest animal welfare and environmental standards, making our wool a world-leading product from farm to shop floor.  

“We hope this new range will prove popular with customers and allow John Lewis and Waitrose to expand the range even further.”