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Restoration project aims to ease plight of the poor

HUB4STUFF, a new project aimed at restoration and upcycling, has opened its doors to the public following a successful launch on Friday afternoon, May 20.

The event included a stunning display of exhibits produced on the premises to help those in need during the cost of living crisis.

And highlights ranged from restored furniture to innovative Christmas trees made from wooden pallets, teapot birdfeeders and sparkling silver jewellery.

A group of trustees and volunteers has been working behind the scenes since April as a not-for-profit initiative from the rear of Bridgemary Methodist Church. Hub4Stuff is committed to reusing, upcycling and repurposing household items donated by residents of Gosport and Fareham.

The team behind the new venture took over the whole church for the day to showcase what can be done with a whole host of items that would otherwise be disposed of as landfill material.

Friday’s guest of honour was Gosport MP Dame Caroline Dinenage, who described the project as “sexy” and said: “Doing it this way is so cool!”

She was joined by Fareham Borough Council Leader Councillor Sean Woodward, who welcomed the fact that the surrounding communities would benefit from the support provided.

So far, the group has saved three tons of furniture from being scrapped, helping 45 families in the process.

Typical items includes tables, chairs, drawers, desks, cabinets, and TV holders. There are also facecloths made from recycled towels. All the goods are either donated free of charge to people struggling to make ends meet or sold for a reasonable price with the proceeds helping with running costs and essential materials.

One additional bonus – according to the Hub4Stuff website – is that the initiative aims to provide training and volunteering opportunities for local residents, helping them develop practical skills and encouraging the use of upcycling in everyday life.

But trustee Alyson Marlow said a helpful addition to the team would be someone prepared to give up a few hours each week while helping to drive or load the Hub4Stuff van.

With enquiries for donations coming from as far afield as Waterlooville, Alyson said there was tremendous scope for expansion and being based in Bridgemary meant the scheme was ideally situated to serve both Gosport and Fareham.

One limitation concerns electrical goods and, as Alyson said: “We have no way of testing them and would not want to give someone a washing machine that didn’t work when they switched it on.”

She is one of four experienced charity workers behind the project and Hub4Stuff chair Tom Bryant said: “There has been a tremendous response to our services, both from those looking to give their unwanted furniture a new home and families locally who are living in furniture poverty.

“We are here to match the two groups and along the way cut the number of good quality items which would have otherwise ended up in landfill.”

Readers can visit the Hub4Stuff website or social media channels for more information on available support, including opening hours and how to donate to the hub as the project continues. Below are some brilliant photographs taken by Globe photographer Holly Mason at the event, with more on her website.