In the second blog in our series covering the progress of the ten School Eco Refill Shops, we can happily report that the schools have undergone their enterprise training and are now beginning to launch and open for their school communities… 

In a bid to make Greater Manchester a leading refill destination, we are encouraging more public outlets, including shops and council spaces, to be part of a free public refill scheme, promoted on a mobile app which would enable more people to find out where they can refill in their locality.       

We are following our ten pilot schools on their journey to manage a fully sustainable, eco refill shop within their school communities with Pupil Profit, an ethical enterprise provider. The school shops will sell refills of household products such as body wash and hand wash, with pupils encouraged to bring in containers to refill.

The aim is to give young people the skills and tools to play a part in tackling he climate and ecological emergency and be part of the UK’s low-carbon circular through a school eco refill shop.  The school shops also support learning workplace green skills, building good habits and taking responsibility for the success of the shop, helping pupils to develop skills for their future.

Training modules

All the schools taking part in the pilot will complete a sequenced programme of enterprise training in their classrooms, which guides the children through writing their business plans, and making their job role applications.  The children will begin developing an awareness of their green skills and will continue to build these skills as they operate and evaluate their refill shops.

An early headline result from the survey of pilot schools said that 93.3% of 134 respondents would like a school refill shop – great news for the school enterprises!

Woodbank Primary School in Bury have been documenting their shop ‘Woody’s Eco Express’ journey on their school website and have sent out their market research survey: 50% have never refilled before, a further 10% have not refilled in the last 6 months.  9 out of 10 said they’d like a school refill shop.    Carrie Howcroft, who is working with the pupils said ‘The modules have been really nice to work through, easy bitesized chunks. We meet weekly for 30-45 minutes and the children are so excited to get this off the ground!’

St Mary’s Primary School in Trafford did very well at their shop launch saving 52 containers from waste with great community engagement, they said it was overwhelming how supportive the parents had been at the launch and that the Eco council did an amazing job.

Hamer Community Primary School in Rochdale invited the Mayor of Rochdale to officially open their shop, Tom Nadin, Head Teacher at Hamer said that the children had a brilliant time and there was lots of buzz in the playground.

Hamer Primary School Eco Shop launch
Hamer Primary School Eco Shop launch

Woodhouses Voluntary Controlled Primary School in Oldham incorporated their launch into a World Book Day Stay and Read session, they said ‘the children loved it and can’t wait to hold their next event, we also got some lovely feedback from parents – it’s been a fab morning!’

Urmston Primary School in Trafford also reported that the children really enjoyed their shop launch.  ‘We had around 15 customers (a mixture of staff and parents) in the 30 minutes that we initially allocated, which we were pleased about! A few of our customers (mainly parents) did ask how often we would be setting up and gave us feedback on days and times that may suit them better, something we will look at going forwards, as well as where the shop was situated.  The children enjoyed every aspect of it, and some even stayed after school to sell more!

Grange School, Manchester, also reported that their pre-launch ‘Refill Revolution’ event went really well. ‘We set up a stall in the hall at the start of the Reading Trail and the parents that attended were all very positive.’ More news to follow on their official launch.

Spotlight on Piper Hill school

Austin Duxbury from Piper Hill Post 16 Department gave us a quick update on the Eco Refill Shop which the team have been getting off the ground in Manchester…  

We are really pleased with the soft launch at Stretford Mall. It was the first time our Eco team have set up there and the customers were great.  We sold 5 x 500ml bottles worth but the feedback from people was hugely positive with a lot saying now they know we are there they will come back next week. An added bit of good news was people told us there used to be an Eco refill shop in the Mall which they used all the time but has now shut down so they were really glad to have us there. I think we can establish a solid, regular customer base.

We now want to have a set of stock that we can keep permanently at Stretford as well as one we can sell here (at the school). We are taking our mobile shop over to the business offices next door and to the class we visited last week with the samples and flyers.  Again, feedback is hugely positive with lots of the staff there saying they will bring containers ready to buy.  All this is great preparation for the team on March 21st when we will have a bigger launch on site at the Careers and Community Day.

The Piper Hill Eco Refill Shop team
Members of the Piper Hill Eco Refill Shop team at Stretford Shopping Mall

The ten schools involved in the initial pilot and their Eco Refill Shop names:  

  • Revolution Refill at Grange School, Manchester
  • Happy Hamer Refills at Hamer Community Primary School, Rochdale
  • Piper Hill, Manchester
  • St Margaret’s Mary’s RC Primary, Manchester
  • ECO Action at St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, Trafford
  • The ECO Red Apple at St Mary’s Primary School, Manchester
  • Being More in a Bottle at Urmston Primary School, Trafford
  • Eco Enterprises Team at Werneth High School, Stockport
  • Woody’s Eco Express at Woodbank Primary School, Bury
  • Ready Steady Go Green at Woodhouses Voluntary Controlled Primary School

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