COMMUNITY Action Wyre Forest has been given a helping hand by the Big Lottery Fund in starting a new initiative for people to gain social and life skills by refurbishing household items.

The project, which aims to provide opportunities for people to gain confidence, self esteem and acquire practical and therapeutic skills, was given £250,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

Irene Walker, chief officer of Community Action Wyre Forest, said “This project recognises that sometimes people need longer term support to achieve their goals and aspirations.

“Our participants have said that short term training courses only begin to scratch the surface of their needs.”

Titled FREDS (Furniture Refurbishment, Education, Development & Support), the project was formed in partnership with social businesses; Community Support Initiatives, Regeneration Communities, and Forgotten Favourites.

Keith Slater, a member of the partnership, said: “Anyone who thinks they will benefit from this project is welcome to participate.

“There are a wide range of opportunities available from shabby chic painting to starting your own business, from learning coping skills to employability skills and much more in between.”

The project will have two permanent bases in Kidderminster and Stourbridge, but will also provide a number of outreach sessions in community venues throughout the area.

Anne Breese, a partner of the project, said: “We are all very excited by this project and the benefits it can bring to local communities.

“We hope everyone will get engaged in making the project a success and that people will donate their unwanted items of wooden furniture to FREDS.

“After refurbishment by participants, the items will then be donated to people in greatest need.”

For more information about FREDS, or to donate items for refurbishment, call Irene Walker on 01562 67008 or email