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Domestic abuse survivors’ homes to be professionally furnished in new scheme

A brand new initiative will see homes given to three households who fled domestic abuse and applied for Waltham Forest social housing after living in refuge accommodation

An example of a fully furnished living room made as part of the scheme. Credit: Peabody/Furnishing Futures

A new partnership between housing association Peabody, the council, and charity Furnishing Futures, will see the organisations working in partnership to create professionally designed, fully furnished homes for domestic abuse survivors.

Professionally designed and fully furnished homes for domestic abuse survivors will be

This scheme, Peabody says, will provide safe, affordable, and ready-furnished homes for survivors to move into and rebuild their lives.

In the pilot, Peabody will offer homes to three households who have fled domestic abuse and applied for Waltham Forest social housing after living in refuge accommodation.

Peabody will paint and provide flooring for the homes. Furnishing Futures will work with the resident to design and furnish their new home with white goods, furniture, and soft furnishings, at no cost to them.

The Furnishing Futures team offer both support work and interior design. The team works with residents to find out exactly what they need to make their home as comfortable as possible, while being mindful of their past traumas.

Furniture is donated by their contacts in the interior design industry and supporters of the charity. In doing so, they saved 36,000kg of unwanted furniture from landfill last year alone – saving residents money and protecting the environment. 

To date, Furnishing Futures has helped 88 women and children across the capital get back on their feet. They have also supported a further 43 women and children through their work in furnishing and redecorating women’s refuges.

Furnishing Futures has also partnered with local women’s refuges; specialist domestic abuse service providers; baby banks and food banks and has developed relationships with some of the UK’s best known interiors brands, stylists, and designers.

Emily Wheeler, founder and CEO of Furnishing Futures, said: “When women escape domestic abuse, they often leave all their belongings behind, without access to finances.

“Starting again in an empty flat without flooring, white goods or furniture can feel impossible. In many cases, children sleep on floors and there’s no oven for a home-cooked meal or washing machine to keep clothes clean.

“Creating a beautiful, well-designed home that’s equipped with everything a woman needs saves lives. Survivors can recover from a place of safety, without the need to return to an unsafe place due to lack of resources. It also reduces financial hardship, in-turn raising self-esteem and improving wellbeing.

“We’re delighted that Peabody recognises the life changing impact of our work in creating healing homes for women. We hope our partnership continues so that this support becomes the benchmark for survivors’ housing.”

Cllr Ahsan Khan, the council’s housing lead said: “It must be incredibly difficult and overwhelming for survivors to leave a controlling, hostile and intimidating environment. Survivors that access refuge services often must move long distances for safety, and finding move on accommodation subsequently can be disruptive to survivors’ lives and healing; this pilot is a great opportunity to keep survivors close to their new and existing support networks. This new partnership will be so important in helping survivors by providing a space where they can feel safe, be safe and call their home.  

“We are committed to working to prevent domestic abuse and reduce the harm it causes to individuals, families, and communities. All our work on violence against women and girls is informed by the lived experiences of survivors impacted by violence. This is an innovative partnership that will make a real difference to people in their time of need. It is also helping save the environment – Waltham Forest is committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and by working together to reduce the amount of furniture sent to landfills allows products to be used to their fullest.”

Further information can be found on Furnishing Future’s website here.