Revamping old furniture to create stylish, shabby-chic pieces to sell in the local community is the aim of a newly-launched project called the Sudley Collection.
The project, which will help to restore both lives and furniture, was officially launched on Wednesday, October 10, by national charity United Response at Trash Converters warehouse in Bognor Regis.
All the volunteers at the Sudley Collection are people with mental health needs who are supported to play a part in all aspects of running the business, from sanding down and restoring furniture, to marketing the pieces.
Vicky Arnell-Smith, United Response service manager, said: “The launch went really, really well. In fact we even managed to sign up a couple of volunteers, which was our main reason for launching the project, so we were very pleased.
“We sold about four or five pieces of furniture, which was great, nothing to grumble about, and more has been ordered!
“Through the Sudley Collection we want to give people with mental health needs the opportunity to develop their skills and confidence, alongside real life entrepreneurship.
“The project will also be supporting other vulnerable members of the community, by offering good-quality, stylish furniture at low prices.
“We are so grateful to Trash Converters. Their generosity has made the Sudley Collection possible. Our partnership shows just what can be achieved when the local community works together.”
Trash Converters provide a shop front for the business, and also source materials from the local area to use for restoration.
Volunteers can initially engage with the scheme as apprentices, before taking on more responsibility as project mentors. As volunteers progress through different stages of the project they will be offered support to access further education and training programmes.
The aim is for the Sudley Collection to become a fully self-sufficient business, which provides people with mental health needs with the skills and confidence they need to boost their future employability and to aid recovery.
As well as supporting people with mental health needs, the project also aims to help other vulnerable members of the community by offering refurbished items of furniture at a very low cost, to anyone who needs them.
Money from the sale of pieces is then reinvested into the tools, training and equipment needed by the volunteers.