When I met Paul Abbey in his workshop at the Aldershot Enterprise Centre, he was in the process of restoring an antique chair. He knows what he is doing when he peels off the layers of old material and foam whilst explaining to his customer the next steps he will take to restore the wood and put a new seat in.
A few years ago, things were rather different. After a successful career of being a magical entertainer, a series of personal events affected Paul badly. He found life difficult and on some days he didn’t know how to carry on. With the help of friends and supporters, he enrolled on a furniture upholstery and restoration course in Guildford. The hands-on course gained him new skills, a distraction from his worries and an opportunity to get back into the workplace.
Via the Richmond Fellowship, Paul was introduced to Susan Reviere, business advisor for the Inspiring Enterprise project. After a series of meetings and workshops, she helped him focus on the things he was good at, enjoyed and that would make him money. Paul now has a stall at the Farnham Craft Market, which takes place every first Saturday of the month at the Maltings. On his stall he displays and sells his work and visitors can see his skills first hand while he restores furniture on the day.
Paul feels that life is on the way up now. Next to his upholstery business, demand for his act as a magician is picking up as well. He regularly meets with Susan, attends Inspiring Enterprise Networking do’s and talks. In January 2018 he gave an inspiring talk to others looking to start for themselves.
This is a heart-warming story about how the Inspiring Enterprise project changes people’s lives. For similar stories please visit our website www.inspiringenterprise.org.uk
You can contact Paul Abbey, whether it is for restoration, magical entertainment or speaking engagements on Mob: 07850 013149, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Now where is that chair that I wanted to upcycle…
blog by Henriette Reinders
Paul was supported by the Inspiring Enterprise, a Building Better Opportunities project.
Funding supports projects in England that tackle poverty and promote social inclusion.
It is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund