Addiction, Health, Behaviour Change | CGL

Spotlight on Recover: the social enterprise up-cycling furniture and lives

Illustration of pen on a green background

Spotlight on Recover: the social enterprise up-cycling furniture and lives

22 October 2015

In operation since March 2013, Recover is a Social Enterprise Project for up-cycling, reupholstering and crafting based in Welwyn Garden City.

What is up-cycling?

Upcycling is transforming waste materials and unwanted products into new, better quality materials or products, giving them a new life. The resulting product is then often more valuable and attractive than it was originally.

What makes Recover special?

Recover offers vulnerable adults life-changing experience, apprenticeships and professional qualifications in furniture up-cycling. Along the way they also gain a love of furniture and design and a belief in supporting the local community, environment and economy.

Recover also maintains a commitment to sustainability – up-cycling old or unwanted furniture and working with donated and reclaimed materials.

Coffee bean sacks

Glenn’s story 

Glenn“I had stayed indoors for 7 years and lived like a zombie, too scared to go out or talk to anyone. I’d hide in my room when visitors came to the house. My back hurt all the time and I wouldn’t start anything. If I had to start something I certainly wouldn’t finish it. Recover has given me something to look forward to – It’s the light at the end of the tunnel for me. Here you’re asked what you’d like to do, not told. I don’t feel isolated any more and everyone on the team supports each other and it’s exciting because you never know what’s coming through the doors. There’s more movement and flexibility in my back, I can concentrate more and speak to new people. When I’m not here I can’t wait to get back – I love the place. Since coming here my Mum says ‘she’s got her boy back’.”

Selling at local markets

Volunteers that join Recover Team have experienced difficulties in the past and are eager to get back into society and the workplace. For some of them, putting themselves into the limelight of a public arena and selling items that they or other members of the team have made is far from easy. Self confidence and self esteem can still be low and the mere thought of a market might at first seem daunting.

Very rewardingly the team are gradually seeing more and more of the volunteers ready and eager to come along and give it a go.

Who does the work?

Recover currently has 2 members of staff and 15 volunteers. Some of the volunteers may have been affected by substance abuse, a criminal record, homelessness or missed education. Recover provides them with breathing space through care and creativity.

How do I buy something?



1. Online via their website

2. Direct from the workshop / showroom, Mon - Fri 9am – 5pm

3. Half Price open day on the first Sunday of every month, 10am – 4pm

4. Welwyn Garden City market on the first and third Saturday of each month

5. Special events – these are promoted through Facebook, twitter and the website



Find out more at the Recover website, or follow them on twitter.