Spectrum’s student-led enterprise project set to raise £500 by making and selling their own goods

Neil Firth, team member at Spectrum’s Three Bridges Education Centre, discusses our student’s latest enterprise project, Shabby Shack, and invites you to see and buy their products at the Christmas market at Heartlands.

We have been getting into the Christmas spirit early here in Cornwall. Our whole school has worked together to launch Shabby Shack, a business enterprise project that will see a range of unique Christmas themed gifts made by students at Three Bridges available for purchase.

Following the successful launch of the range at local shops and Churches this autumn, the products will also be available to purchase on Saturday 4th December at the Christmas market at Heartlands.

We will be selling seven products including Christmas tree ornaments, festive decorations and lighting, and candles, all made from upcycled materials. The entire range has been produced by students as part of a school-wide combined DT and Business project, designed to help our young people develop a better understanding of business and the value of money.

Christmas Decorations

It has been incredible seeing the whole school invested in the initiative this year, and through working directly with the local community the students are picking up transferable business skills. The project really is student led, and we have seen the benefits first-hand. Our young people have developed an important awareness of money and an understanding of how a business works that they were not previously familiar with. More significantly, we have found a way to empower the talented young people at Three Bridges Education Centre to believe in their abilities and know there are countless valuable ways of making money that are not limited to a regular nine till five office job, a lifestyle not suited to all. There is more than one face for self sufficiency and given the right opportunities everybody can find their place in the working world.

While the project is still in its first term, we have already seen success beyond what we thought could be possible. In particular, the upcycle scheme running alongside this seasonal Christmas craft project has been very popular. Students have been giving unloved pieces of furniture the TLC needed to be reused and selling the goods on to the local community. Pieces that have been successfully upcycled are a door, spice rack and a coffee table. The students involved in these DIY projects are really excited that their work is resulting in real sales and deciding where this money can be spent and invested back into the project is giving our young people a real sense of independence. We are learning as we go, but this upcycle arm of the project has been an extremely positive experience so far, and students are taking the sense of pride found from the awareness that their hard work is valued across the wider community and transferring it across their work more generally.

Now that we are starting to build our reputation within the Cornish community, we are dreaming big and hope to see our products available for purchase online through Etsy next year. Through developing an online store and creating a legitimate brand, we will be able to further upskill our students by placing quality control at the centre of the project. Our students are really enjoying growing their confidence and getting involved with every stage of the process: from building the items for sale, to stock taking, to taking charge of the money in the bank. This enterprise project has taken off more than we could have ever imagined, and I am extremely eager to see what they can achieve in 2022!
If you’d like to see our products for yourself, you can find us at the Heartland Christmas market this Saturday 4th December between 10am – 4pm at:

Heartlands, Dudnance Lane, Pool, Redruth, TR15 3QY