August 1 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Garden furniture from a local charity project
With summer on the way, these are busy times for the Genesis furniture workshop.
The Ipswich-based workshop, run by the Orwell Mencap charity, chiefly makes garden furniture for parks, local authorities and individuals.
It provides carpentry work for about 20 people with disabilities each week and produces fine timber products that are sold across East Anglia and beyond.
“We are approaching our busiest time of the year,” explained workshop manager Chris Hawes.
“We exhibit at the Suffolk Show, the South Suffolk Show, Hadleigh Show and others and get a lot of orders from them.
“It is mainly garden furniture and we also provide furniture for public parks and cemeteries across Suffolk and East Anglia.
“Our furniture can be found in Christchurch and Chantry and Holywells parks here, The Abbey Gardens and cemeteries in Bury St Edmunds, to Felixstowe and up to the North Norfolk coast.
“We have delivered as far as Warwick, though it is mainly East Anglia.”
Orwell Mencap is a charity which organises a wide range of services and activities from its base in Wright Road.
The furniture project is a long-standing one, dating back to 1995, with the present workshops established in 1998.
Workshop manager Mr Hawes is a skilled joiner. He said: “I was an apprentice with Cubitts for three years and did 11 years with them and then joined Genesis. I have been here 16 years now.
“I love it. I enjoy working with these guys. It is really satisfying.
“I was lucky to have the training and skills and these lads haven’t had the same opportunity as me.
“It gives them something really important, and a sense of achievement and reasons to come to work.
“They have pride in their work. “They get involved from when the timber arrives on the lorry, the sawn timber, right through all the processes to the delivery to the final customer.
“We have our own van and try to send out two of the lads to deliver them to the customer.
“So they are involved right through the process.”
There is a full commercial style joinery workshop, where the team members cut, plane, drill, shape and finish the parts for a variety of furniture in Iroko and Oak.
The handmade products include tables and chairs, benches including memorial benches, Suffolk loungers, planters and table/chair sets.
Memorial benches, popular for public parks and cemeteries, can have a plaque or a carved inscription.
Nothing is wasted. Even the sawdust is carefully collected and turned into eco-fuel briquettes for home fires.
Genesis garden furniture is based in Wright Road, Ipswich.
For more information, call 01473 723888.