The Furnival

Year | 2023
Location | Burngreave, Sheffield
Clients | The Furnival

Creating a ‘Home’ at The Furnival

The Furnival is a charity that provides a ‘home’ for migrant women, with an emphasis on community and learning. On visiting you are immediately welcomed by the warmth, kindness and delicious food cooked by the women. It is this idea of a collective community home, a home away from home, that is the keystone to the project.

The Furnival is based in a small unit in Burngreave, Sheffield and focuses on engaging with the local community through creative mediums. The women learn english, numeracy, do crafts, build confidence and form social connections at The Furnival. This creates a safe space for newly arrived migrant women to settle into the daily life of a new country and build skills needed to support their families. The area is neglected and has high levels of anti-social behaviour causing the external areas to feel unwelcoming.

“When I come to community centre I feel like I am at home because all the people are so welcoming and friendly… we are like a small family”

User of The Furnival

The Live Project team worked with the women of The Furnival to create a resourceful bottom-up approach to the project which centres participatory design. The client wanted a visual re-branding as well as a number of interventions on site to create a more homely welcoming atmosphere. The project also proposes a long-term design strategy that the client can use to gain funding and act as a starting point for future design proposals. The project is split into three phases allowing a range of design options in different price bands, understanding the tight constraints the charity faces from funding and resources; instead providing an accessible approach that allows the charity to make gradual changes when and if it can.

Whilst phases 2 and 3 look to the future, the live project team completed phase 1 in the 6 weeks of the project. Phase 1 created a new physical visual branding that allows for improved visual communication but also enhances the feeling of home that the Furnival’s community had already created. Two new signs were made, the shutters were decorated and window stickers have been added creating a comforting playful facade. Two planters were added to allow the women to grow herbs and vegetables to use in their communal cooking and for the community a bench was created in the square making much needed seating and space for meeting and connection. To combat current environmental issues and budget restrictions reclaimed materials and alternative ways of working were used throughout. At the heart of the project was a range of engagements with the women using The Furnival. From informal workshops using visual prompts to span multiple language barriers to craft workshops creating batik cushions. The integration of the Live Project team in the community was imperative for the group to provide a participatory design process allowing the women to design the future they want for The Furnival.


Mentor: Cith Skelcher
Client: The Furnival
Location: Burngreave, Sheffield
Students: Jessica Fisher, Abdul-Raheem Diment, Hannah Graham, Yian Jiang, Caitlin Pugh, Frances Hedgley, Aisha Khan, Bethan Mullard, Yinuo Zhou, Chirayu Vinod Jain, Anjali Vitthal Pol, Yu Ye