Desk Drop C-19

Project Lead, Chris Barrett 


Unit 2, 11 Argall Avenue, London, E10 7QE


Who we are:

We are a small reclaimed wood furniture manufacturer that runs as a social enterprise due to our work with young marginalised and often disadvantaged people of the borough. Based in Leyton we had planned to launch our thinkFOUNDATION programme 'Step Up To Work' [] at the end of the month. However Covid has put a spanner in that.


Following the government announcement regarding laptops and tablets being provided to vulnerable young people we are evolving the thinkFOUNDATION virtually so young people can have the motivation, focus & wellbeing that an improved study space can provide via a new suitably sized desk. We will then back up the giveaway with online teaching to adapt the desk and provide other DIY projects involving design and making that can be done  in the home.


What we are proposing:

We are currently looking to 'deliver differently' in this new climate in order to continue our social impact through the foundation. We are proposing the idea of a desk giveaway. At first we’d like to make desks for young people in need...and then to extend this into an educational programme to bridge our thinkFOUNDATION delivery.


We have a 2 tier plan: 

The immediate (the giveaway); manufacture of small desks in bespoke lengths to suit individual small spaces with a choice of wood desk top colour and style and leg colour. We can produce 100s of desks at a low cost if we are able to get financial support. Desks are usually 43cm in depth, 74cm standard ergonomic height and we can cut to any length by the 1cm but to manage the giveaway we can make set sizes 70,80,90,100,110cm +. Desks will come with the legs detached and will need to be screwed in so just screwdrivers are needed...we could try to get some sponsorship for the screwdrivers. We are checking suppliers for other styles of legs.


Long term (extension of the project/campaign); We were about to launch our thinkFOUNDATION at the end of this month which is a supportive mentor/work experience programme aimed at getting 16-24 year old young people work ready. We are now looking at ways to bridge the programme by starting a virtual learning programme. Something the desk giveaway could incorporate. When possible/we are allowed to get up and running with this we would happily take people who have had a desk from us via this campaign/scheme to join the Step Up To Work programme.

Why is it important:

As set out in the recent Youth Futures Foundation & ImpetusPEF report the ramification of Covid-19 around young people and their future is nothing short of catastrophic. Even before Covid-19... and The Sutton Trust report on social mobility & their Impact Brief: School Shutdown brings home the stark reality facing a large proportion of our young people. This is echoed by the Resolution Foundation's report 'Class of 2020... Education leavers in the current crisis'.

Desk additions / Educational programme

Our concept is for an all in one flat pack desk with a difference incorporating the thinkFOUNDATION philosophy of thinkGREEN, thinkSOCIAL, thinkFUTURE...Initially aimed at young people in need around Waltham Forest who may have a shared bedroom, not much space and no garden. 


We are looking to develop:

Starter/assembly kits to send out to individuals,

With clever packaging that can be laid out to protect the room/home from damage while items are being made...or to turn into a stool and laptop/table stand.

- Workbook/instructions in kit pack,

- 'How To' videos,

- Video call assistance,

- Further follow on design training via Sketch Up software.

- More DIY project for the home.


3 optional stages:.

Level 1. Desk assemble to use instantly ...basic but ready to use, join wood to make table top then screw in legs

Level 2. Add shelf. We can send additional material and instructions to make/attach a shelf using other style of joins

Level 3 Add Draw. More advanced making method we can send additional material and instruction to make/attach a draw...if the individual wants to advance skills further.



Packaging of the kit/pack can double up as a protective booth to assemble the desk indoors so no damage is done to the home or can be used to create a stool & laptop/tablet stand.


Inside the box/packaging/kit


2 pieces of thicknesser and sanded wood pre prepared at the workshop... wood to be join together by individual with prepared domino holes







Legs (3 or 4 styles)


Options for finishing with environmentally friendly odour free none toxic/dangerous product:



Cloth Or we can do in the workshop



ZED bicycle courier service



If successful we can scale up the project to be a giveaway for anyone facing hardship at this time.


We can also open up the educational DIY element to older people in a bid to improve mental health and wellbeing. This could then develop into us making other DIY project kits for people.


Regarding funding / Marketing campaigns we can look to involve artists; local and well known to use our table tops as canvas where the tables can then be auctioned off. This can help local artists in these tough times.


We can ask local photographers/image makers to photograph desks in their homes in exchange for a desk. Waltham Forest has a very high concentration of freelancers so a free desk may be of some help to these people along with the promotion of their work.