Image for A leg to stand on: furniture restoration as a way back from addiction

A leg to stand on: furniture restoration as a way back from addiction

Social enterprise Restoration Station uses furniture restoration to help people recovering from addiction find a route back into society and towards self-worth

Social enterprise Restoration Station uses furniture restoration to help people recovering from addiction find a route back into society and towards self-worth

Restoration Station is one of two social enterprises run by Spitalfields Crypt Trust, a charity that helps people facing homelessness and drug and alcohol addiction in east London, and it opened its doors in 2014.

Furniture, most of which is donated, is carefully cleaned before being hand-finished by the team. As part of their instruction, trainees spend time with skilled local craftspeople, to hone their knowledge of design history, restoration and finishing techniques. As well as reviving donated furniture, commissions for bespoke pieces are accepted.

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The project’s shop in Shoreditch is open on Thursday afternoons, and all day during Fridays and Sundays, while the woodwork course runs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in the same space.

“On these days, people can wander in from the high street and watch our trainees at work restoring a chair, a wardrobe, a chest of drawers or a bookshelf,” says Hera Lorandos from the project. “Surrounding them is a selection of vintage gems from the 50s, 60s and 70s.”

Restoration Station helps people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction find a way back into society through restoring old furniture. Image: Dan Weill

Trainees get help with moving on to paid employment, voluntary work or further education. Of the nine trainees at Restoration Station in the past year, four are still training and two are now in paid work or higher education.

One, who has qualified as a plumber since their time at Restoration Station, said: “I would tell people who are in similar situations to go for it. Just do it! I’m very grateful to this place; it’s helped me a lot.”

In photos: Restoration Station

Featured image and gallery images 1-19, 21, 23, 25 and 27: Dan Weill
Gallery images 20-22, 24, 26: Maeve Moayedi

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