Formerly Homeless People Restoring Furniture While Rebuilding Their Lives

Living Magazines Herts upcycling by former homeless people

Local homelessness charity Emmaus Hertfordshire has launched an in-store upcycling display to showcase items that have been given a new lease of life by formerly homeless people.

Customers of Emmaus can now purchase a range of beautifully restored bespoke items at the charity’s Hemel Hempstead shop, all of which have been upcycled by people who were previously homeless. The charity is now also accepting commissions and upcycling requests, with all items priced individually.

The charity, which supports up to 39 people, provides a home for as long as needed as well as the opportunity to gain work experience in any of their five shops across the county. The combination of a stable living environment, and a reason to get out of bed in the morning through meaningful work, allows people to regain their confidence, self-esteem and dignity so they can rebuild their lives.

Whilst living at the charity’s site in St Albans, residents are offered the opportunity to train in the workshop, learning how to upcycle items donated by the public. This not only gives people new skills but saves unnecessary items from going to landfill and helps generate income to maintain the community.

Current resident and upcycling pro, Mikey, came to Emmaus in August 2015, and said: ‘When things started going wrong in my life, I ended up at Emmaus Hertfordshire. I decided to give the workshop a try as I used to do carpentry in my younger days and I have been in here ever since. The best items to upcycle are solid wood – wardrobes, chests of drawers, tables or chairs. We do try to restore as much as we can, but sometimes items come in damaged, distorted from the heat or cold, or have woodworm, and it’s not always possible to salvage them. I enjoy being in the workshop because it is a great way to recycle and I like the thought that someone will be buying an item which has been made much more special and unique.’

The Emmaus Hertfordshire Hemel Hempstead shop is located at 559 London Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 2RE, and is open Monday – Saturday 9.30am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.

The charity also has four other shops in Hertford, Harpenden, St Albans and Tring selling quality furniture, household goods, clothing, electronics, and bric-a-brac.

To find out more about Emmaus Hertfordshire please visit

To enquire about upcycling commissions, please contact Karina on 07785 615155.