For months now, under conditions of closely-guarded secrecy (I know: I’ve tried to winkle the details out of them often enough), the folks at Castle Vale TRA have been developing a new social enterprise.
Well, the wraps are finally off and we can tell you about Upcycle Birmingham — a new furniture recycling business which aims not just to give new life to carefully restored furniture, but new hope to local communities too.
Working from a state-of-the-art training unit and showroom in the OYO Business Park, Park Lane, the team restores furniture and household goods for re-sale, while also providing employment, training and volunteering opportunities for local people who are looking for work.
Donations of furniture and household goods have already been flooding in from across Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Solihull — and Judy Tullett, who is directing this new project, says they have already uncovered some real gems.
Upcycle already has restored tables and chairs, cabinets, beds, sofas and wardrobes in stock, along with a host of domestic appliances, electrical items and other household goods.
People planning a spring clean or clear-out are being encouraged to donate to the enterprise — either by delivering the items or by using the business’s home collection service.
Upcycle Birmingham is part of the Castle Vale Tenants and Residents’ Alliance (CVTRA), the only resident-led organisation of its type in Birmingham, and one of only a few in England.
One of the first Recycling Assistants taken on by the new enterprise is Michael Wootton [seen above] from Shard End.
Michael left school at 15 with just a handful of qualifications after his education was blighted by bullies. He struggled in the classroom and didn’t attend lessons in fear of cruel jibes on a daily basis.
After a couple of years of temporary jobs — including working in a McDonalds — Michael found Upcycle and things are now starting to look up for him.