Teenagers make an Impact with upcycled furniture

Social Enterprise helped out a group of youngsters from the Eyemouth area to put together a sale of restored furniture which they worked on for 3 months.
Social Enterprise helped out a group of youngsters from the Eyemouth area to put together a sale of restored furniture which they worked on for 3 months.

WIth home furnishing shows still a regular fixture on many a TV channel, breathing new life into objects that have seen better days is still very much in vogue and it was the turn of a group of Eyemouth teenagers to show off their handiwork this week.

The youngsters, all aged 16-19, had been busy working with national oranisation Impact Arts on a Youth Employability project to upcycle various items of furniture, including an assortment of chairs, tables, stools and a chest of draws.

They displayed the finished articles at an open day in the TEDDA building in Eyemouth on Monday, where as well as viewing them, members of the public also had the opportunity to buy the items for a reasonable price

Based in Glasgow, Impact Arts do a lot of work in the city but also in Ayrshire, Edinburgh and the Borders and speaking to ‘The Berwickshire News’ at the event, their Youth Arts co-ordinators Olly Walker and Becki Hodgson said they were impressed with the work rate of the teens involved and were delighted with what they’d come up with.

“Prior to coming to Eyemouth we did a lot of research on youth unemployment and opportunities for youngsters in the area and we decided to do the project in response to these statistics,” Olly explained.

“There aren’t too many opportunities for youngsters who may have lost their way after leaving school. It’s also quite a migratory area with a lot of young people going north to Edinburgh or south to Newcastle for work or to further their education.

Becki added: “The people who got involved with the scheme came to us as referrals; we had a lot of discussions with Careers Scotland and Job Centre Plus amongst others.

“The idea behind the project was to increase the group’s employability by giving them new skills and re-engaging them in something worthwhile. And we’re really pleased with how they’ve approached the work”

Olly and Becki admitted that there was an initial struggle finding teenagers interested in taking part but added that they couldn’t fault the attitude of those who got involved and kept coming back week after week.

Olly continued: “We appealed not just to young people from Eyemouth but also those in smaller surrounding villages and even bigger places like Coldstream and Duns, although we appreciated that would be quite difficult with them having to make their own way here.

“The ones who did come along have been brilliant; they have been coming in twice a week working from 10am-4pm and we’ve had a 100 per cent attendance rate.

“We’ve run a fashion programme in Galashiels and another furniture one in Walkerburn and all three have been really successful and produced items that could be sold anywhere,” Becki said.

“We don’t expect the group we’ve been working with in Eyemouth to leave the course all wanting to be furniture makers but already we can see that it’s made them think about what they want to do for a future career.

Olly added: “Some of the guys involved haven’t really done anything for the past two years since leaving school but now they’re applying for courses and giving some serious thought to what they want to do with their lives.”

One of the real stars of the project was Rebecca McArthur who helped to put a new vibrant twist on an old chest of drawers.

She said the project had been quite easy once her and her fellow group members had come up with plenty of ideas and she said she was now looking into a career as a carer for old people.

Another one of the teenagers on the project, Jordan Ross said he signed up as he saw the project as “a good opportunity to get involved with something rewarding” and was hoping to now go to college to do a course on game design, while Danny Ross said he was hoping to go into childcare.