Social enterprise Petit Miracles offers a new lease of life to furniture, and to the long-term unemployed people responsible for renovating it
At the entrance to Petit Miracles is a striking piece of modern art, a glass tabletop with crockery inserted in it, reflecting the motto of the social enterprise: ‘Giving people and furniture a second chance.’
Petit Miracles creates bespoke furniture at an affordable price, while diverting materials from landfill and creating training opportunities for disadvantaged London residents. To add extra social value it also occupies empty commercial property and is currently located at the West12 shopping centre in Shepherds Bush.
The shop offers a broad range of upcycled furniture, restored antiques and vintage items, mixing style and colours with an equal blend of contemporary and classic pieces. The social enterprise clearly has its finger firmly on the pulse of contemporary design, as its eye-catching restorations transform tired old furniture into fashionable, fun and quirky items.
“Petit Miracles’ training programme aims to help boost people’s confidence by making them feel welcomed and valued on their journey towards employment.”
The retail space is also a workshop where people from disadvantaged backgrounds are invited to learn about furniture and interior design, how to make their own bespoke creations and how to improve their living environment.
Elisicia Moore, Petit Miracles’ founder and director, said: “When Petit Miracles first started we targeted people who had experienced homelessness, with a focus on engaging women. Over time we realised the need was greater than that niche focus. Now the common denominator is long-term unemployment, because that touches a wider number of people in difficult situations.”
Supporting people from often difficult backgrounds, Petit Miracles’ training programme aims to help boost people’s confidence by making them feel welcomed and valued on their journey towards employment. One of the people the social enterprise has made a big difference to is Iyoub Elkrami.
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After being long-term unemployed Elkrami was referred to Petit Miracles for a work placement by the Jobcentre. Eighteen months later, he is now the workshop manager and a testament to the value of the social enterprise’s training.
Elkrami is clearly proud of the role he plays at the social enterprise and says that every day there is something exciting happening. “The good thing about [upcycling] furniture is it has a good kind of turnover, as you can start a piece of furniture and finish it in a couple of days,” he says. “You automatically feel good about finishing it and that inspires you to do more.”
As well as running training programmes for disadvantaged residents, Petit Miracles runs afternoon furniture and upcycling classes open to the public on the first and second Saturday of each month. Alongside selling furniture this helps to create much needed revenue to support the not-for-profit organisation.
This article was written by Marco Meert while taking part in the Big Issue online journalism programme with Poached Creative. To find out more visit their website.
Photo credit: © Vicky Perryman