Rugby School and N.E.J. combine to help environmental charity


We recently led a scheme to combine our abilities with the world renowned Rugby School in support of local environmental charity, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. We have worked alongside both before and through our conversations it soon became apparent to us that one simple scheme could have some wide reaching benefits.

We all know that charities need to work exceptionally hard to make the most of their budgets, and that is especially true at this time. So when we learnt that one of the Trusts teaching centres needed some new children's furniture at their Parkridge Centre, we wanted to help. The easy solution would have been to make it ourselves. But as we are staunch advocates of finding ways to bring additional structure to our children's learning, we spoke to our friends at Rugby School who put us in touch with Paul Shelley, the school's Design & Technology teacher to see what his views would be on rolling-out the project out amongst his students. Paul was extremely enthusiastic about the project and introduced it, and ourselves, to his ten A-level students. The process provided them with the chance to bring the needs of a commercial brief into their studies; doing so added further depth to the course and put the students in the middle of a process that required them to critique the clients brief and then assess its feasibility.

As well as the timber, donated by the company, Neil Stevenson worked closely with Paul, as the pair provided support to the students on the course.

Now fully complete, the exterior furniture will now be used by young school children that visit the Parkridge Centre, Solihull, and will help the Centres wardens show, how a careful balance between conservation management and commerce has is a value to society. And now with much thanks to the students at Rugby School, will also provide them somewhere comfortable to sit!

The students were (pictured): Tim Brown, Jodie Cox, Cristiana Grassi, Ian Sillett, James Walker, Freddie Kerner, William Lewis. Not pictured: Hannah Hawkesley (in indoor photos, not outside), Huw Phillips, Sam Bennett

“Rugby School Design and Technology department was very interested when approached by N.E.J. Stevenson Ltd, to undertake a project in conjunction with themselves and the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. The project enabled our A-level pupils studying A-level Design and Technology: Product Design, to work with a real client, and have a fabulous opportunity to use their creative design skills, in developing a range of tables and chairs for young children to be used outdoors at the WWT education centre.
As the project was to benefit a local charitable organisation, this also was a very favourable outcome; Rugby School community prides itself in assisting and helping out many local organisations as well as involving ourselves in community service ventures.
We would like to thank Neil Stevenson for all his help, expertise and in supplying materials for this worthwhile project. In addition to this initial project our next cohort of A level pupils are in the initial design stages of developing park benches and picnic tables for the WWT for manufacturing and delivery next year."
  Paul Shelley, Design Technology Teacher, Rugby School

"It has been an absolute delight to work with the staff and pupils at Rugby School they really embraced the project and produced some excellent work, which has provided real benefits educationally and practically with the WWT acquiring new furniture for their centre at Parkridge. I look forward to working with them again." Neil Stevenson, Managing Director, N.E.J. Stevenson Ltd

"I'm really pleased that the Trust is so closely associated with this superb project between Rugby School and local business, N. E. J. Stevenson. It's inspiring to see local business leaders getting involved in education and helping to pass on their skills and knowledge to a new generation. We are absolutely delighted with the fantastic tables and chairs that the students have designed and made with the support of the staff from N.E.J. Stevenson and teachers. They've done a great job and, on behalf of the thousands of young people who use the Parkridge Centre, I would like to thank them for their hard work and creativity." Stephen Trotter, Chief Executive - Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

"Young children doing environmental education activities at our Parkridge Centre will love them. They're great fun, well-constructed and the design is very pleasing and child-friendly. As a local charity, we simply wouldn't have been able to buy such high quality furniture without the help of Rugby School and N.E.J. Stevenson. I can't wait to see the youngsters using them." Amanda Evans, Volunteer Manager - Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

Posted on 17th December 2012

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