South Leeds students take on shopping centre sustainability challenge

Students from secondary schools across South Leeds have been taking part in a special challenge to create and design a reusable water bottle that will be sold at White Rose Shopping Centre.

Year 9 and 10 pupils from Cockburn John Charles Academy, Royds School in Oulton, Woodkirk Academy and Bruntcliffe Academy in Morley were set a ‘Made In South Leeds’ challenge hosted at the shopping centre by owners Landsec.

As part of Landsec’s ongoing sustainability commitments to efficiently use natural resources and sustainable design and innovation, the teams were tasked with creating a simple design inspired by Leeds. This was accompanied by a social media campaign to promote sales of their environmentally friendly water bottles to shopping centre customers.

One of Landsec’s recent campaigns ‘Refill Me’ is aimed at getting people to use reusable water bottles to reduce the amount of plastics that end up in the sea. Shops and restaurants in their centres displaying a blue Refill Me sticker will re-fill customers’ water bottles at no charge.

A winning team was selected from Woodkirk Academy, and they will now have their design added to 100 Chilly’s brand water bottles. They will be invited back to sell these at White Rose later this year, and all monies raised from the sales will go to a charity of the school’s choice.

Representatives from Landsec were on hand throughout the six-week process to help guide and coach the students, including giving a masterclass in sales and visiting them at their schools to check on the progress of the project.

The challenge aims to increase diversity in the retail and property industries by connecting local young people with employers from the sector and helping them understand the different career opportunities available.

It was organised by social enterprise Ahead Partnership, which connects employers of all sizes and sectors with their local communities to widen their social impact.

Steven Foster, General Manager at White Rose Shopping Centre, said:

“It’s been amazing to once again see how creative and passionate about the environment these students are. Not only does this challenge ask participants to think in terms of design, but also about the wider commercial aspects – developing great skills to use in all areas of business.”

Georgina Hughes, Project Co-ordinator for ‘Made In’ at Ahead Partnership said:

“It was fantastic to see so many young people take on this challenge so enthusiastically. The project helped the pupils understand and practise key skills like teamwork, presenting, communication and time management as well as put together their own business and marketing plans.

“Landsec wanted to reach out to local schools to demonstrate how they are working in an environmentally-friendly way, to highlight some of the opportunities that a career in retail can bring and to help local students take action on helping to tackle climate change, an issue so many young people are passionate about.”


This post is based on a press release issued on behalf of White Rose Shopping Centre