A participant upcycling furniture. Photo credit: NuLife's Facebook Page

People can learn how to upcycle second hand furniture at a new course at a workshop in Butetown

The Upcycle to Upskill course could also improve participants’ job prospects, say organisers

A COURSE which aims to teach people how to ‘upcycle’ old furniture during the cost-of-living crisis has launched in Butetown.

Organisers of the Upcycle to Upskill course at Nulife Furniture noticed a need in the community, so they set up the course which offers training, including formal qualifications and practical, informal job support.

The not-for-profit organisation commits to repurposing furniture. 

The course is running all sessions for free, including a manual handling course, a light repair workshop and the nationally recognised PAT (portable appliance testing) qualification, which normally costs £150.

The course is open to anyone at its base in Clarence Road. For this course, NuLife will provide lunch. People keen to take part just need to fill in a form to express their interest.

“We are trying to be as inclusive as we can to eliminate common barriers that people face when accessing training courses,” says project manager Alessa Hill, who is from Cwmbran.

This course has attracted people of various ages and backgrounds.

A participant upcycling furniture. Photo credit: NuLife’s Facebook page.

The 59-year-old stressed that NuLife aims to make a genuine difference to people’s lives.

NuLife was set up in 2014 by Cadwyn Housing Association workers who felt that tenants were given housing without furniture.

“We make sure they don’t just have accommodation, but they have a home,” she said.

 “It’s rewarding. You put a lot in, and you get a lot back. We give our volunteers meaningful activity.”

Alessa recalled the huge response they’ve received since advertising the Upcycling to Upskill course online.

“We’ve had 18,000 views on our Facebook page and 130 shares, more than we’ve ever had,” she added.

They have had applications from several Ukrainian refugees.

NuLife has had such an overwhelming response that Cardiff charities have been in touch to plan future projects.

“More funding would really help us expand our small team of six.”

They have 15 volunteers and are always on the lookout for more.

The organisation has helped 302 families and saved 7,349 items from going to landfill in the last year.

Alessa hopes that some of the participants she trains become mentors for NuLife.

“Maybe they can help upcycle our furniture that doesn’t sell as much,” she added.

A participant upcycling furniture. Photo credit: NuLife’s Facebook page.

NuLife occupies a unique space in the Cardiff furniture market. While there are numerous furniture poverty projects in the city, they are pioneering the upcycle to upskill movement.

Their website and Facebook can be accessed here:

  • Here is a link to their Facebook page, detailing sessions.
  • If you want to volunteer for NuLife, you can sign up here.