Furnishing Futures is an innovative new charity that creates beautifully designed, fully furnished healing homes for women and children who have escaped domestic abuse and been given empty social housing, often even without flooring or white goods. Furnishing Futures partner with the interiors industry to provide a sustainable solution to waste, enabling them to repurpose good quality ex-display, returns, props or donated furnishings to create beautiful, trauma-informed, fully furnished homes for women who are experiencing multiple disadvantages.
Founded by interior stylist, writer and social worker Emily Wheeler, the charity is based in Leyton in East London and takes referrals from a number of specialist domestic abuse services and grassroots organisations.
Their Mission and Vision
To create healing homes for women and children fleeing domestic abuse or experiencing furniture poverty, by using good quality donated furnishings and To create a future where furniture poverty no longer exists and no useable furniture ends up in landfill
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 their 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, Furnishing Futures 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.