The healing power of home
To create a future where furniture poverty no longer exists and no useable furniture ends up in landfill
To create healing homes for women and children fleeing domestic abuse or experiencing furniture poverty, by using good quality donated furnishings
We give furniture to women and children who are living with furniture poverty, because having a comfortable home supports wellbeing and helps to break the cycle of poverty.
We support families in need, harnessing the power of kindness to restore women’s dignity and give them hope for the future.
Our referral partners include women’s refuges and safe houses, baby banks and food banks.
Less than 2% of social housing is furnished (even with just floor coverings or curtains) compared to 30% of private tenancies, and more than half a million children in England don’t have their own bed to sleep in. 14.3 million people in the UK are living in poverty, and that includes nearly 5 million children. In the area of London that our project is based in, nearly half of all children are living in poverty.
Thousands of families who are already struggling on low incomes don’t have the means to buy furniture, which leaves parents with a stark choice of either living without furniture or taking out expensive loans, perpetuating a cycle of poverty that can be hard to break.
Women who are rehoused after fleeing domestic abuse are often given a completely bare property, making it more likely that they will return to an unsafe situation if they cannot look after their children in a cold, empty flat with minimal finances.
Giving furniture restores women and children’s hope and dignity. By creating a healing home that supports their physical and emotional wellbeing, we help to increase their self esteem, support their physical health and improve their life chances by helping to break the cycle of poverty.
Giving children beds ensures that they get a good night’s sleep and can learn in school the next day; giving sofas and chairs creates a space to relax and giving tables and chairs gives families the opportunity eat together and a space for children to do their homework. Artwork, lamps, cushions and rugs are the finishing touches that help to make a house a healing home, and help us show marginalised families that they are valued and cared for.
Sarah works in a low paid caring job, and was commuting a long distance to work every day after dropping her children to school, which was costing a lot of money and taking up all her time. She was worried and stressed about how she was going to afford flooring and furnishings and the dust in the house from the bare floors was aggravating her children’s asthma.
After meeting Sarah and measuring the rooms, we started by asking her how she wanted the house to feel; how she would use the space and what colours and textures she and her children liked best. We talked about what her dream home would look like, and then we went away and set about creating it.
Furniture was selected via WhatsApp in partnership with Sarah, and we took her with us to our storage unit to choose accessories including cushions, rugs, artwork and storage. We worked with brands including Dunelm, Darlings of Chelsea, LSA International and Cox and Cox to create a tranquil, cosy home where the family could relax together and where the children felt safe.
Paintings and photographic prints were donated by artists and interior designers, and plants were donated by the Eden Project at Planted.
Our volunteers painted, decorated, hung blinds and pictures and our supporters sent gifts based on the family’s preferences.
Sarah said that the thing that moved her to tears was her child turning to her and finally saying ‘it feels like home’.
* name has been changed to protect identities
“I just want to say a big thank you to Furnishing Futures for helping me and my children make our house a home. My daughter said they have made us feel happy and warm.
They went above and beyond, painting, providing flooring, all the furniture; cushions, plants and accessories to make our home homely. The work Emily does is amazing, helping us mothers who have been through the traumatic experience of domestic violence and having to flee. The support from Furnishing Futures has put a smile on my family’s face again.”