David Bowell perches in a tiny workshop paradise, where every wall, floor and bench space is crammed with tools, furniture and rescued pieces of oak. Here he turns tyres and bicycle inner tubes into EcoPouffes: firm enough to be a coffee table or seat, or to put your feet up on at the end of a hard day.

He is also committed to re-engaging another resource that society wastes, namely “people who are the off-cuts of society”. His motivation is to “extend the ladder down to those with mental health problems or additions, with creativity being the key”. The training he gives helps people into careers with respected furniture companies having been transformed “from not knowing one end of a chisel from another to restoring quality furniture”.

With a team, David can make ten EcoPouffes a week. Keeping the business small lets him focus on the hands-on work and training he enjoys. At 16, his mum suggested he went to the local upholstery factory, and he loved it. Now, as a skilled antique furniture restore, cabinet maker and French polisher, his work for wealthy clients sustains his social enterprise.

-By Heather Qualtrough

This article can be found in the East2 Insider’s Guide to Bethnal Green Magazine 2015. – See more at: http://issuu.com/walkeast/docs/east_2_2015_issuu_2