When Emmaus Bolton’s homelessness community was invited to make garden furniture for the popular visitors’ attraction RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford, our first thought was our Simon.

Our companion has been developing skills in furniture-making since the start of the year, mixing up his time serving customers in Derby Barracks, so you’ll still see him in store.

During his training in The Workshops, Simon has made garden planters, ladder planters, a garden seat and much more, with the advice, guidance and support of our Projects Manager Phil.

Developing furniture-making skills

When Emmaus Bolton was asked to make six picnic tables for the RHS Garden Bridgewater, it provided the perfect opportunity for Simon to show off his skills.

Having progressed through machinery training and through practising joinery, Simon was able to follow the unique Emmaus Bolton design and craft places for wheel-chair users at the tables so everyone can sit side-by-side.

Companion Simon assembling picnic tables he made at RHS Bridgewater, supported by Projects Manager Phil

Specially designed garden furniture

Phil, who supported Simon with delivery and assembly on site at RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford, said: “This is what Simon has made. He has pre-assembled all of these benches. It’s all down to Simon. There are five with single disabled access and one with double disabled access: access on one side and disabled access on the other.

“A massive thank you to Simon. He’s done well. We are very proud of him. Come down have a look and if you want one, you know where to get us.”

Working with the Royal Horticultural Society

Emmaus Bolton began making furniture for the RHS in January, as part of its project supporting NHS Properties to create a wellbeing gardens for staff across Greater Manchester.

At the time, Claire Drury, RHS Regional Development Manager for the North West, said: “It has been a pleasure working with Emmaus Bolton. They have built a number of benches for an NHS garden in the Greater Manchester area that I’m sure will be enjoyed for many years to come. The benches are beautifully made and are all the more special thanks to the people who worked on them. It’s great to know that we have not only received locally made and upcycled furniture and but have also supported Emmaus’ charitable aims; rebuilding lives from homelessness with work and training.”


If you would like find out more about ordering a bench made by Emmaus Bolton, visit The Workshops page or pop into our charity shops off Fletcher Street, BL3 6NF and ask.

Companion Simon assembling the picnic benches he made at Emmaus Bolton's The Workshops
Picnic benches at the RHS Garden Bridgewater made by Emmaus Bolton
Companion Simon made the garden furniture to a special Emmaus Bolton design to include wheelchair-users