Furniture Restoration Project Trains Youth

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Have you ever had furniture that you accidentally broke? Or has aged and deteriorated on you due to wear and tear?

When this happens, what do you do…

Perhaps the simple solution is to get rid of it and look for a new piece of furniture to replace. But imagine you had the knowledge, tools and skill set to restore and give it new life on your own.

This was the case at Bolton Camp when it started its campsite restoration project. And this summer, we partnered with them to teach their youth how to repair and restore old furniture so they can be empowered to do so on their own.

What is Bolton Camp?

A little bit of history

Bolton Camp was established in 1922 and was a camp for boys and girls from low income families from The Greater Toronto Area. For over 75 years, it operated as a campsite by Family Services Toronto. In 1999, it was forced to shut down due to lack of funding.

Fast forward 12 years, and the Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) purchased the property with funding support from the Region of Peel and re-purposed the site from an overnight summer camp to a community cultural hub.

Out of this, the Student Summer Program was created with a focus on youth engagement, training and employment. Over the past two summers, TRCA employed over 100 post-secondary and high school students to assist with the first stage of site revitalization. The students restored trailers, refurbished cabins, created art, and now had an opportunity to learn how to restore furniture.

Training youth in furniture restoration

Furniture Bank and Bolton Camp project

As part of Bolton Camp’s site revitalization, they were looking to learn how to refurbish and restore old furniture that they found in storage. With no knowledge in furniture repair, tools and equipment, they sought us out for help.

Furniture Bank worked with Bolton Camp to provide two one-day workshops, hosted by Peter Bray, our lead workshop instructor. Through these training sessions, 11 youth participants were equipped with the basic theory and restoration techniques essential to properly repair and refurbish old furniture.

After the workshops, the youth restored all the furniture in two weeks, and brought it to Furniture Bank for our clients to select and use to create a home. A win-win for the community!

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