It’s never been more exciting to be part of the solution and create real social impact.
This is your call to join the circular economy – are you with us?
Our homes have a huge impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Living in poor quality housing without proper flooring, curtains or furniture has a devastating impact on people’s self esteem – and yet most social housing is given to families completely bare. These might be houses, but they’re not homes.
Women and children who are rehoused in empty flats after leaving abusive relationships find themselves plunged into poverty at the most vulnerable time in their lives. Families already struggling to make ends meet cannot stretch their shrinking household budgets to afford basic items like beds, sofas or curtains.
That’s where we come in. Furnishing Futures takes furniture and homewares donated by the interiors industry and our incredible supporters and creates healing homes that support women and children’s wellbeing and raise self esteem. We support families by creating beautiful homes, designed well.
Restoring dignity, giving hope
We use trauma-informed design to create spaces that nurture and uplift women and children who have experienced domestic abuse. We work with them to decide how their homes are decorated – something that’s incredibly important when your choices have been taken away from you in so many ways. From sofas to saucers, pictures to pans, we furnish homes with everything a family needs to be safe and comfortable – all at no cost to the people we support. We’re driven by our values to respect, empower and support families through the power of good design.
More love, less landfill
At the same time, we help brands in their journey to become more socially minded and sustainable, enabling them to donate stock that could otherwise end up in landfill – from photoshoots and ex-display items to unwanted goods returned by customers. By working together, we support a circular economy that benefits the environment as well as families in need.
About Furnishing Futures
Furnishing Futures is an innovative new charity founded by social worker and interior designer Emily Wheeler. We combine social work values with interior design skills to create trauma-informed, fully furnished healing homes for women and children escaping domestic abuse who are placed in empty social housing or living with furniture poverty, and who have experienced multiple disadvantages and trauma.
We do this by saving good quality furniture from landfill and partnering with the interiors industry, to design, fully furnish and decorate families' homes. We are a registered charity that is partnered with specialist domestic abuse services and grassroots organisations, and we have developed relationships with some of the UK’s best known interiors brands, stylists and designers who donate the products that go into the homes we create. Often these products are returns, seconds, ex-showroom, props or other stock that could otherwise have ended up in landfill. By using high quality donations from interiors brands, stylists and the local community, we create powerful social impact while supporting a circular economy.
We are a small, newly registered charity but our goal is to develop a model that can be scaled across the UK and further afield so that we can support more families, more effectively.
Furnishing Futures is a registered charity whose headquarters are based in Leyton, East London.
Emily Wheeler is a registered social worker with over twenty years’ experience in frontline social work. She is also a trained interior designer and a respected interiors writer and stylist who’s written for The Sunday Times Style, Stella, Ideal Home, Red, Guardian Weekend, The Simple Things, Homes & Antiques, Elle Decoration, Grazia, 25 Beautiful Homes and many others, and she is the author of Creative Living London (Thames & Hudson).
Emily was a frontline social worker in children’s services since 2002, working across some of the most deprived areas of London with the highest levels of child poverty. She has worked closely with women and children experiencing multiple disadvantages alongside the combined challenges of severe domestic abuse, poor housing and inequality, and has chaired multi agency child protection conferences for Local Authorities across London.
In 2009 Emily qualified as an interior designer, working as an interior stylist and writer for magazines, as well as designing residential homes for private clients.
Emily founded Furnishing Futures in response to the poverty she saw on her return to frontline social work, particularly after supporting women to leave abusive situations only to be rehoused in cold, empty flats without even a bed to sleep on or oven to cook a meal for their children, which led to some of the women returning to perpetrators.
Emily realised that there was often nowhere for families or professionals to turn to for furniture, compounding women's distress and contributing to professionals' concerns for their children's welfare and safety. At the same time, waste is a huge issue in the interiors industry, with many companies and individuals looking for ways to improve sustainability and reuse items.
Emily’s expertise, knowledge and experience in both social work and interiors means she has a unique perspective on the many ways our homes affect our physical and emotional wellbeing and the positive impact that a safe and comfortable home has on our individual wellbeing, families and on society as a whole. Her life’s work is supporting women and children to have safe and comfortable homes that support their wellbeing.
Emily is the CEO of Furnishing Futures.
Sep 27, 2022
Press: Country & Town House Magazine
Aug 30, 2022