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Shabby2Chic Release the Potential!

Shabby2Chic Release the Potential!

11th Sep 2015

Blackpool’s own furniture upcycling specialists Shabby2Chic CIC have a strong reputation for beautifully hand-refurbishing unwanted donated furniture. What is less well known is the huge impact they have supporting local people to get back on their feet after personal crisis…

Shabby2Chic’s Upcycle Warehouse on Preston Old Road is where the magic happens. Following a grant to support the expansion of their upcycling work, the team of 7 people who are mainly volunteers have rescued over 30 tonnes of furniture from landfill over the past two years – but that’s only half the story.

Shabby2Chic CIC’s Managing Director Sandra said, “We are in the business of realising potential – that’s with the furniture we lovingly hand restore and it’s also with our valued volunteers and trainees too. We work with a variety of socially excluded people, including young offenders and people who have struggled with depression and enduring mental health problems; working with us in hands-on, practical and creative projects makes a huge difference.

“Our trainees come to us often with no self-esteem; our team provide a nurturing environment that helps them gain vocational skills and confidence to help them take control back and – upcycling isn’t just about the furniture, it gives our trainees a new lease of life too!”

One trainee, Sarah, said her training had been life changing; "Before I came here I wasn't in a good place. Sandra and everyone in the team are so supportive and encouraging, there’s such a great atmosphere that I felt really comfortable for the first time in ages – it felt amazing to be so creative and be able to turn a piece of furniture no-one wanted into something really desirable.

“By the time I had finished my course, I had a whole new set of skills and felt like I had loads of options – I’m working towards opening my first business which I otherwise would never have considered. Shabby2Chic have made the world of difference to me, I just can’t recommend them highly enough!"

Over the past year, Sandra and the team have provided 64 training placements ranging from day sessions to intensive 1:1 support over several months, tailored to the individual needs of her trainees.

There is a wealth of evidence that creativity, participation and ‘giving back’ to the community benefits long-term mental and physical health. After training and completing the course, Shabby2Chic’s support helps to enhance employability, and improve wellbeing, social and communication skills, self-esteem and resilience.

Shabby2Chic relies on donations of furniture from the public. Tina Lukacs, Office Manager at Shabby2Chic said, “It’s not just a case of getting furniture in and back out again, it’s a careful process of individually preparing, restoring or refurbishing each item – what arrives dated, bumped or damaged will leave trendy, modern and glorious!

“We want to sincerely thank everyone who has kindly donated furniture to us, and assure them that each item is used to support people in need in our community – we always welcome new donations and will collect locally for free!”

Shabby2Chic CIC contributes to Lancashire’s Waste Strategy by rescuing unwanted furniture before it enters the waste stream, preventing landfill. As members of the Lancashire Community Recycling Network, they are engaged in the wider network of other community-based organisations contributing to reuse and recycling services.

Dawn Welham, who manages Lancashire CRN on behalf of Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council said “Shabby2Chic have blazed a trail as one of the Northwest’s first community upcyclers and it’s been great watching them grow from strength to strength over the years. It’s always exciting to see what the team are working on, and seeing the real impact they make with people on a personal level. Keep up the hard work!”

Shabby2Chic’s van is often seen around Blackpool and the Fylde Coast collecting donations and making deliveries – Sandra says “wave if you see us!” Shabby2Chic’s bespoke upcycled furniture can be viewed and bought from our social media sites and by visiting their warehouse at Preston Old Road in Blackpool.

For more information on donating, commissions, training or volunteering visit http://shabby2chic.co.uk or call 01253 465948. You can also join Sandra and team on Facebook.

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