Nestled away in what was once a disused paint factory near Chepstow railway station is a veritable Aladdin’s Cave, full of the weird and wonderful.

The warehouse on Station Road in the town is now home to Monmouthshire Upcycle and has come a long way from its previous state.

Director Matt Jones said: “When we saw this disused paint factory, we thought it would be perfect.

“It was all smashed in, in a terrible mess.”

However, the staff, many of them volunteers, have worked tirelessly to transform the site into a fully functioning treasure trove of furniture, electricals and assorted homeware; a place where you never know quite what you are going to find.

The business receives donations of furniture which would otherwise have ended up going to landfill. Utilising their fully kitted-out workshop, they are also able to upcycle items which are in need of some love.

Sofas, dressers and wardrobes are some of the items which have been donated to the upcycle centre. However, Mr Jones explained that there have been some more unusual donations too.

“We sold an old hospital curtain to a theatre company based in Monmouth,” he said.

“We also have a Parmesan wheel, a £2,500 mower and a huge water tank. We once even transported a whole shed in the back of the van.”

It’s not all about the items for sale however, it is as much about the people, if not more so. Mr Jones explained that m while the business employs 13 members of staff, upwards of 30 people volunteer their time.

“It’s more of a community project than simply cheap furniture,” he said.

“The whole principle of the charity is to upcycle people. It’s that more than anything else.

“Everyone you see working here is either unemployed or has had some sort of issue.

“A lot of them are long-term unemployed. One of the guys who’s going to get a job here soon is a recovering heroin addict.

“People who might not be given the chance at other places. We’ll nurture them and help them find their way in life.”

This idea of upcycling people is at the very heart of Monmouthshire Upcycle. Everything is geared towards helping as many people as possible.

Mr Jones said: “The overall aim is to make enough money to make it viable to then employ even more people and carry on like that.”

One way the business reaches out to the community is through their weekly workshops. Held on a Thursday night, people from the local community can come along and make use of the workshop, either for their own upcycling projects or simply to learn new skills.

It is a project which attracts woodworkers of all ages, as deputy project manager Kristian Vaughan-Adkins explained.

“On our books we have about 15 people.

“We’ve got a lady who’s in her late eighties I think, who’s been coming in to restore a table that she’s had for years and years.

“We’ve also got a girl just out of university who comes to use the lathe.”

While there is no formal fee to attend, Mr Vaughan-Adkins added that there was an optional donation.

“If people use some of our materials, then they’ll pay a bit towards it,” he explained.

“It keeps us in sandpaper and disposables.”

It’s not just the local community. Through their Eco-Store, the business also has eyes on helping the wider environment.

Re-fills of washing liquid, shampoo and other products have been made available in a bit to cut down on the number of plastic bottles being sent to landfill.

Mr Jones remains pragmatic, however. He explains: “The thing which sustains us is people donating good furniture.

“If our diary isn’t full of donations, then we’re not going to make any money at the end of the day.”

Monmouthshire Upcycle have also recently launched a fundraising drive to kick-start their new UpCycle project - renovating and restoring donated bicycles. To contribute towards their efforts, visit