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Liam's upcycled furniture raises £2,500

Liam Ginn is a 31 year old male with autism who is supported by our community day service team. The community team has always supported Liam to make a positive contribution in his community, pre pandemic Liam volunteered at Noah Ark Zoo Farm and in a charity shops. These opportunities stopped as a consequence of Covid 19. This prompted his support worker Rowena Ayers to look for a new opportunity for Liam.

In 2020 they knocked on the door of changing lives in Clevedon- which is a Charity that was set up to support people dealing with the challenges of offending, addiction, mental health issues or homelessness to find hope and a future. They have 2 charity shops and a furniture warehouse in Clevedon.

Ant who was volunteer co-ordinator at the time- said ‘We took a chance on Liam and Rowena we were starting up a furniture upcycle project, despite their lack of experience we took them on and it has paid of big time! They have been our longest serving volunteers on the project’

Liam told me he works every Tuesday 9:15 to 15:45. Liam demonstrated some of the skills he has developed and explained some of the processes involved in shabby chicing furniture.

Liam said he has to sand down the furniture first, takes the doors and handles off with an Allen key. Liam then gave me a tip that you put the metal handles in coke to make them come up clean! Rowena explained that Liam’s favourite job is putting the masking tape on the glass. Liam told me he puts a coat of undercoat on the furniture first and then put 2 coats of the chosen paint colour on top.

Rowena praised Liam’s artistic skills, he has paints freehand animal designs on some children pieces including lions, elephants, monkeys and tigers. Rowena showed delight in sharing what the opportunity has done for Liam’s confidence he has developed skills, and more importantly positive relationship with his work colleagues. He has built a lovely bond with Jay. 

Hasina the current volunteer co-ordinator said 'Liam has really grown and come out of himself in the last 4 years, he is reliable and has a real attention to detail. Most importantly he produces some unbelievable work that sell like hot cakes- we even have had some bidding wars on pieces that Liam has created! Most importantly he is a wonderful person and we love when he does his cartoon comedy impressions.’

The upcycled furniture Liam has created has collectively sold for £2,500! Liam was the early innovator in this project which is growing from strength to strength.

Ant explained that ‘people now commission work- bringing in their own furniture to be upcycled for a fee. We have recently expanded the project to HMP Horfield Prison- we provide the furniture and they upcycle the furniture to help them develop skills as part of the rehabilitation process. Their products are then sold in the warehouse.'




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