Furniture made by formerly homeless people chosen for top prize of UK

12 Aug 2021 10:35
Published by: Scott Callan

A 101-year-old was among the lucky recipients of handcrafted garden furniture commissioned for the top prize of a UK-wide garden makeover competition from a homelessness charity in Bolton.

A trio of housing companies, that engineer entry solutions and doors, approached Emmaus Bolton after spotting the talent of formerly homeless people at the charity’s social enterprise at Derby Barracks off Fletcher Street.

Emmaus Bolton provides a home, work and personal support to a community of up to 22 companions, people who have experienced homelessness. The beneficiaries of the charity gain the opportunity to learn new skills at an onsite wood workshop, garden centre, recycling centre, café, and charity shop, supported by a staff team of experienced trades people.

Following a visit to Emmaus Bolton, companies Bamford Doors, CAME KMS and Entrotec were delighted with the bespoke garden furniture, which helped transform the grounds of competition winners, independent living scheme Normanbrook Court in Market Drayton.

Bamford Doors Sales & Marketing Manager Conor Kelly said: “The quality of work produced by Emmaus Bolton was amazing. We initially contacted Emmaus for one bench, but we ended up going away with three benches, four planters, a bird box to use in the garden makeover after a coffee and tour of Emmaus. The initiative to give formerly homeless people employment while getting themselves back on their feet is a brilliant idea; to be able to get a sense of pride in what they do is great.”

The residents of Connexus Homes Limited’s community, who won the garden makeover, were impressed with the new furniture for their new look outdoor area, which volunteers from the three housing companies totally transformed in less than 24 hours.

A spokesperson for Connexus Homes Limited said: “Absolutely wonderful work and thank you very much.”

Other beneficiaries from the competition included Great Places Housing Trust, which supports homeless people in Old Trafford and received garden furniture from a separate donor, and Cornwall Coastline Housing, which won a cash donation.

Director at Emmaus Bolton, Tony Stephenson, said: “We are delighted that the new skills of our companions have been recognised by these three housing companies for the first prize of such a wide-scale competition. It is a joy to know that our furniture will be providing a great source of pleasure for these older people in the years to come, in such a fantastic new look garden area.”

To find out more about Emmaus Bolton and its onsite wood workshop, where customers can commission bespoke indoor or outdoor furniture, please contact 01204 398056 or email

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