A charity shop in St Helens which specialises in giving unwanted furniture a new lease of life is celebrating its first year of successful business.
The ReStore St Helens shop is the brainchild of Changing Communities - a Community Interest Company established by local charity The Hope Centre - and sees unwanted household furniture repaired and reused instead of being thrown away while providing practical skills for job-seeking residents.
After a successful first 12 months of operating the project has been given an £8,000 boost through the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority and Veolia Community Fund 2019/20.
The shop on Peckers Hill Road in Sutton opened its doors to the public in the winter of 2018. It houses an on-site workshop where volunteers repair, restore and upcycle donated furniture – anything from dining tables, chairs and bookcases, to drawers, desks, wardrobes and cupboards.
Any waste wood or by-product is used to create new items such as garden planters, benches and household ornaments. All items are sold in the shop with any profits being ploughed back into the venture.
Recently the ReStore shop celebrated its one year anniversary with special guest Marie Rimmer CBE MP in attendance, who said: “It was an honour to be there to celebrate the one year anniversary of the ReStore shop.
"The work ReStore do is a real credit to our community as they make a difference to helping local residents get back into work. I look forward to celebrating many anniversaries for ReStore over the coming years.”
ReStore is primarily volunteer run and as well as refurbishing unwanted furniture is also providing opportunities for long-term unemployed individuals with mental health issues.
Using The Hope Centre’s extensive volunteer network participants are being provided with opportunities to learn DIY and retail skills, giving practical experience of working routines to help gain employment.
The Project Manager at ReStore Julie Waring said: “We offer a unique service in that we're preventing valuable and reusable materials from being wasted, while at the same time giving local people practical work skills.
"I’m absolutely thrilled with the success of the shop, the amount of furniture being rescued and the ongoing support of the community.”
ReStore receives much of its supply from private house clearances and has hosted several giveaway events for any remaining or excess stock.
By the end of the project it is hoped that over three tonnes of furniture will have been repaired and upcycled and training will have been given to a minimum of 36 people.
MRWA Chairperson Councillor Tony Concepcion said: “It’s great to see ReStore head into its second year with real success behind it.
"They’re very well run and have identified areas they can specialise in to the benefit of the local community and the environment. Let’s hope this anniversary is the first of many.”