Award win for pioneering furniture restoration shop

Nathan Wallis with service users Elaine Harrison and Adam Dykes
Nathan Wallis with service users Elaine Harrison and Adam Dykes

A pioneering furniture restoration business staffed by an enthusiastic group of adults with learning difficulties has won an award.

Second Time Around has received an Oxfordshire County Council Choice Award recognising and valuing the achievements of council staff and volunteers.

Day service worker Nathan Wallis started the project with people he supported at St John’s Daytime Support with the idea of restoring furniture and selling attractive items in the shop.

After several years operating from a garage at Redlands Day Centre the growing project moved to Beaumont Close.

“Since moving here Second Time Around has really taken off. It’s more than we could have hoped for,” said Mr Wallis.

“Public support has been overwhelming. Our service users have risen to the challenge and grow in confidence daily. We all feel a real sense of purpose and enjoy being a part of the business community.”

More than 90 per cent of service users are involved and the business generates income to cover rent, rates, and utilities. Sara Livadeas of the county council said: “Second Time Around was a real stand-out entry. The project is an excellent example of being innovative as it is specifically tailored with the service user and wider community in mind. It started small-scale but has blossomed into providing an immensely positive experience for a large number of people.”