RCN 1148279, London

London Reclaimed is an employment charity set up to provide an opportunity for young people in South East London to step up into paid work in one of our two charity owned enterprises : Goldfinch Furniture and Lumberjack Cafe.

On Easter Sunday a catastrophic fire ripped through the back unit of our workshop in Bermondsey, completely destroying that half of our building. 


Miraculously our charity enterprise, Goldfinch furniture - which occupies the front of this unit -  didn’t burn, but has sustained water, smoke and electrical damage. We’ve been renting this whole space for a number of years, licensing the back unit to other local businesses. Due to the damage, and the time it will take the insurance company to get the building back to a usable state, the current business using the back unit will be moving out, making this space available. 

After the shock subsided, and a whole lot of mess was cleared up, we were left with a question. “Could we take the plunge and turn the back unit into a youth training hub?”

We’ve dreamed about using the space for our charity youth work for a long time, but up to now haven’t had the opportunity, finance or infrastructure to make it work. However, our project has grown and developed over the last couple of years and we would love to take this huge step.

Life handed us a lemon… could you help us make lemonade!?

But first, a bit about us…

London Reclaimed started in 2011 as an employment charity with a passion to help young people who struggle to step up into employment. We provide job-specific training, employability skills, tailored mentoring and paid work to 16-25 years olds in South East London. 


The young people we work with often find it difficult to access the world of work because of criminal records, mental health challenges, housing issues, poor educational attainment or complex family circumstances. We provide a safe, positive environment and framework to help build confidence, practical and soft skills and positive local networks for these talented but under-supported young adults.

To run our paid trainee programme we created two charity owned enterprises: Goldfinch Furniture (Bermondsey) & Lumberjack Café (Camberwell). Young people join our teams for up to twelve months at one of these businesses before we help them transition into their next job, course or training. We currently employ 15-20 young people per year, and over the last few years 92% of our young people have moved directly into employment or education on leaving us. We are also developing shorter access to employment training courses that will act as a catalyst for young people in their journey towards long term employment.

So back to the dream…The youth training hub

For many years we’ve wanted to provide more space for our young trainees to practice what they are learning with us. An area with both hand-tool woodworking facilities and a professional coffee machine, will provide the space for all of our trainees to develop in a less pressured environment, along with a suitable safe space for individual and group mentoring to happen. 


Up to now we’ve not had a dedicated space for this, and though our workshop and cafe are fantastic, positive spaces they are also fully operating, busy enterprises. The training hub will provide us with an off-the-shop-floor area for all this great stuff, as well as giving our fantastic Youth Project Manager, China, a space to develop and run broader reaching training courses to further impact our amazing community.

The buildings insurance will cover the structural damage to the building, returning it to a blank shell that we can utilise for our ongoing youth provision.

There are two main costs that we’re trying to cover. Firstly, we need around £25,000 to cover the costs of fitting out the space to become the training hub. Secondly we’re taking a big jump in the rent we’ll need to pay on this space. We’d love to raise £20,000 to cover the first 6 months of the hub space (this cost will start after this section of the building has been made habitable).

After that we’re actively engaging with grant making trusts and funders to help sustain the charity programme over the coming years, and to pay for specific machinery and equipment we may need. We have a great track record for self sufficiency, with over 80% of our overall charity turnover coming from the sales from our two charity owned enterprises: Goldfinch Furniture and Lumberjack cafe (Separate legal entity fully owned by London Reclaimed).  We fundraise up to 20% a year to allow us to take the time we need to provide the framework our young people need, which will include this fantastic space! 

Will this really help?

We really believe in what we do. Providing young people with their first job, and a safe space to learn what it means to be employed, and how to act in the workplace, really does change the trajectory of people’s lives. We’ve seen huge successes with our trainees moving on to work in the construction, retail and hospitality sectors, as well as pursuing further training at prestigious crafts colleges and universities. 

Our approach isn’t quick, and it’s not one-size fits all. We work with small numbers of young people at any one time, ensuring that we provide a high-quality, tailored set of opportunities that give them the best springboard into a future of long-term employment, positive relationships and confidence in their unique abilities.

This training hub will help us level-up our youth engagement, meaning we can work with more young people in our local community, in formats unavailable to us previously, in even more life changing ways.

And if you donate a big chunk…

We do have a few rewards on offer alongside the fuzzy feeling of knowing you are supporting a brilliant charity, and frequent updates on the youthwork you’re supporting.

If you donate £8,000 or more you will be the proud owner of a custom Slab table made to your specifications. 


These tables are perfect as a ‘wow’ inspiring dining table, a fantastic new boardroom table or a statement piece for your organisation’s communal space. In our timber stores we currently have over 50 slabs of ethically sourced UK grown hardwood timber of various sizes between 2.5-3.5m long and between 0.9-1.5m wide.   We have the ability to offer 5 of these amazing slabs for this crowdfunder.  See these examples of the slabs we have, and some of the tables we’ve made recently.

If you donate £4,000 or more you’ll get one of these amazing UK grown Cedar live edge ‘Cookie’ coffee tables with legs designed to your specifications.


Anything that you can give, however big or small, would be hugely appreciated during this exciting stage of transitional growth. We can’t wait to see where we’ll be in 12 months, and would be honored to have you on this journey with us.

Mike, China and the whole London Reclaimed team.



27th December 2023 at 11:48am

pledged £10

3rd September 2023 at 9:35pm

pledged £30

David Bird
10th July 2023 at 3:22pm

Hope the plans are continuing to evolve - will be in touch

Mr Mark Catley
7th June 2023 at 12:53pm

Brilliant opportunity - go make some lemonade.

Mr Mark Catley
7th June 2023 at 12:43pm

Brilliant opportunity Mike. We wish you all the best in this fantastic project.

Hamish Lodge
5th June 2023 at 10:33am

pledged £450 + an est. £112.50 in Gift Aid

Greg Winter
26th May 2023 at 11:35am

What a great of luck!

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