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What is Ugly Duckling?

Ugly Duckling is a not-for-profit furniture recycling and renovation project, run by Andover Mind, for the local community. Ugly Duckling’s aim is to help the environment by repairing and recycling donated furniture that would otherwise have gone to landfill, whilst at the same time providing work experience, social networks, and occupation and training opportunities to disadvantaged people who are involved with the upcycling work. As well as repairing donated furniture, Ugly Duckling also makes new items from recycled wood such as bird, bat and hedgehog boxes and takes client commissions. The project operates from a workshop in East Portway, Andover and is currently open 5 days a week.

Why it began

Andover Mind has run a charity shop for many years so knows full well just how much furniture gets discarded each year, much of it too damaged to sell at the shop and destined for landfill. Frequent trips would be made to the tip with unsellable furniture in need of some TLC. Over the years we have become much more aware of the environmental challenges that this waste brings. Ugly Duckling was born in 2010 with the aim to help this environmental issue whilst also providing fantastic opportunities to help a range of people such as those with mental ill-health, young people with a variety of challenges, and those with dementia.

Who is the project open to?

Ugly Duckling is open to service users of Andover Mind as well as other community groups. We also have volunteering opportunities available to local people, meaning different sections of the community can work side by side to address a local problem.

We need your help

We have a fantastic group of volunteers at Ugly Duckling but would love some more. Our volunteers do a variety of jobs such as sanding, varnishing, painting and reupholstering the donated furniture as well as helping with fundraising and promoting the project in the local community. We are looking to expand the project in the coming months and will need a lot more help to make sure we are successful. If you have some time to spare, we would love to hear from you.


We are always looking for donations of furniture that we can upcycle or wood that we can make into new products. Please call us if think you have something which we could use.

What people say about us

“The Ugly Duckling project is a godsend to two of my ex pupils. The boys are both autistic and too anxious to attend college. Other than the Ugly Duckling project, both boys hardly leave their homes and spend much of the time on their computer games. They do not socialise or engage in any peer interactions. As well as engaging them in practical activities at the project, Maria is actively looking for other volunteer opportunities for the boys and trying to move them forward in achieving some independence and gaining work skills.  There are no other such opportunities in the local area. If the Ugly Duckling Project is not funded, these boys would become totally socially isolated in a very short period of time.”

(Rosemary Scott – Acting Deputy Head at Andover Education Centre.)

“’B always loved coming to Ugly Duckling and he loved the people he worked with there. I only wish we had found Ugly Duckling earlier in his journey living with dementia. I know he would have benefited from coming sooner. It was lovely knowing that he was happy going to Ugly Duckling and gave me precious respite time.”  

(Partner of person with dementia.)


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Useful contacts

Contact us

  • 01264 332297

  • mind@andovermind.org.uk

  • Westbrook Close, South St
    Andover SP10 2BN