Beds, Herts & Bucks

YMCA shop in Bedford turns waste into furniture

4mation shop
Image caption Paul Kellett, Carl Wright and Jo Sherwood outside the 4mation store, which aims to look like an "upmarket store" said Carl

A new "upmarket" charity shop is aiming to take items with "no purpose" and recycle or upcycle them.

The 4mation store, in The Arcade, Bedford, is using broken items, such as suitcases, and transforming them into home furnishings and furniture.

Retail manager, Carl Wright, 33, who runs the store for YMCA Bedfordshire, said: "I am trying to stop anything going into landfill."

The shop will help fund services such as kids clubs and homeless projects.

Image caption The charity can take old suitcases and turn them into something else, like a...
Image copyright 4mation/BBC
Image caption ... coffee table or a dog basket

"We are are trying to recycle as much as humanly possible," Mr Wright said.

"Scrap pieces of wood I can use, wardrobe doors that are broken I can use.

"No matter what the condition I can take pretty much anything and recycle it."

Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Old fabric donated by John Lewis has been transformed into cushions
Image copyright 4mation
Image caption A spirit level is given a new lease of life as a coat hook

Paul Kellett, marketing and partnership manager for YMCA Bedfordshire, said: "Everything here [would have] had no purpose, unless it had someone take some time and inject some love into it to bring it back and restore it.

"Like most charities these days, we need more money to keep ourselves afloat."

Any profits made from the social enterprise project will go into supporting the charity's housing projects, women's refuges and afterschool clubs, he said.

They are encouraging people who want to learn new skills to volunteer, like Jo Sherwood.

The 21-year-old, who has moderate learning difficulties, came to live at the YMCA, aged 18.

"My confidence was really, really low when I first started, but now it is building up," she said.

"This is motivating me to do something with my life."

Image caption Jo Sherwood said she loves being "practical" and is planning to upcycle two bathroom cabinets
Image caption The most enjoyable job for Carl Wright is turning unwanted books........
Image copyright 4mation
Image caption ... into clocks

Mr Wright said they want to change some people's views of second-hand shops.

"We're going for a more retro, fresher look, not to make it look like a traditional charity shop, but to make it look like an upmarket store that people will like to go and shop in," he said.

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