Jay Blades MBE is the nation’s most popular furniture restorer, TV Presenter, charity ambassador, sustainability advocate, and author.
Best known for BBC’s The Repair Shop (2017-) – where he once welcomed King Charles III as a guest – Jay’s popularity has grown and grown, and he can now be seen fronting other series, as well as being a guest on programmes including This Morning (2019-21) and The One Show (2020-22).
Brimming with positivity and passion, Jay is a popular keynote speaker, inspiring audiences with this tale of overcoming hurdles to become the best version of yourself.
Contact Great British Speakers today to book furniture restorer Jay Blades for your next event.
Jay Blades doesn’t just work on furniture for the television; he is a successful furniture restorer off the screen, often working on projects for commercial and individual clients and providing workshops for disadvantaged people.
As explained in his autobiography Making It (2021), Jay didn’t have an easy upbringing. He grew up on a council estate in Hackney with his mother and half-brother – he would later learn that his father had another 25 children. Dyslexic, Jay left school at 15 with no qualifications and no real direction, he was a victim of racism from his school peers and, shockingly, from the police. He began working as a labourer and factory worker before enrolling in Buckinghamshire New University as a mature student to read Criminology. Only then, when he was 31, was he diagnosed with the reading ability of an 11-year-old.
In time, he found his vocation as a furniture restorer and co-founded the charity Out Of The Dark with his then-wife Jade. OOTD aimed to train young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in furniture restoration. Sadly the charity closed in 2015, Jay and Jade’s marriage broke down, and he became homeless. But hope was on the horizon. Television producers spotted a film he had done about the charity, and the rest, they say, is history.
Whilst best known for The Repair Shop, Jay has presented programmes including Money For Nothing (2015-20), Jay’s Yorkshire Workshop (2021), Jay Blades Home Fix (2020-21), Jay Blades: No Place Like Home (2022), and Jay and Dom’s Home Fix (2021). In 2022, he released the documentary Jay Blades: Learning to Read at 51, following his attempts to improve his reading ability. He has also appeared on Celebrity Masterchef (2018), Would I Lie To You? (2019), Richard Osman’s House of Games (2019), Saturday Kitchen (2021), Lorraine (2021), Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel (2021), Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special (2021), and Celebrity Catchphrase (2023).
He is also the founder of Hungry Jay Media, a TV production company partnered with Hungry Bear Media.
In 2021, Jay released his memoir, Making It, an inspirational book about “beating the odds and turning things around even when it all seems hopeless”.
Jay’s love of helping people hasn’t waned at all. After Out Of The Dark closed, he moved to Wolverhampton and established Jay & Co, an enterprise which supported disadvantaged communities. He is a trustee or ambassador for charities, including:
– Tiny Toes Tiny Feet: Supporting mothers and families impacted by domestic violence.
– The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust: Helps empower and encourage people to learn traditional crafts.
– Gangs Unite: Specialising in high-risk gang conflict resolution and bringing young high-risk communities together to divert violent energies to productivity.
– The Prince’s Foundation: Help with the foundation’s international and national initiatives to develop more sustainable communities.
– Wolves Foundation: To help those disadvantaged living in Wolverhampton.
– The Black Fund: Helps channel finances to charities empowering black communities.
He is also the Co-Chair of the Heritage Crafts Association, a charity set up to promote traditional crafts and support those interested in pursuing them.
– Restoration & Sustainability
– Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
– Mental Wellbeing
– TV Presenting