Enterprising Cann Bridge school achieves record volunteer support from jumper knitters
A dedicated group of knitters, known as the Yarny Army, have given up more than 1,000 hours of their time to support a Plymouth school’s enterprise programme.
Cann Bridge, a special school for 3-19 year olds with severe learning disabilities, is one of the local schools taking part in Plymouth City Council’s Urban Enterprise scheme, delivered by RIO (Real Ideas Organisation).
Since starting its enterprise last Christmas, Cann Bridge has turned a small student enterprise into a serious business, generating more than £1,200 of income through the sales of knitted bottle jumpers.
The Yarny Army has been growing steadily and has now produced more than 500 jumpers, which take two to three hours each to knit.
Many of the knitters are from Plymouth and have connections with the school, but word has spread and the school has received interest in the project from as far afield as a West Ireland knitting circle, with a member who used to live in the city.
400 of the jumpers were sold at Christmas, raising £1,200, and a further 100 are ready to be sold later this month at retail events in Plymouth and at Tor Bridge High which has also received Urban Enterprise support.
Wendy Fisher from Cann Bridge School said: “The students and staff are absolutely delighted with the response we’ve had from volunteers and all the fabulous jumpers which have been knitted. When we started the We Cann Do Gifts enterprise last year I never thought we would get such a fantastic amount of support from volunteers, we’ve never had a response like this before, but working with RIO has helped us become much more enterprising.”
Urban Enterprise is an extension of a social enterprise school programme delivered under Peninsula Enterprise’s Social Enterprise Focus project between 2010 and 2014, which helped 700 individuals and supported 12 schools.
Through the programme, RIO is also supporting two secondary schools in Plymouth to develop new school enterprises. Marine Academy Plymouth and Tor Bridge High, both large forward thinking academies, have the opportunity to set up student led enterprises which will help the schools realise their ambition to be the hub of their local community. Involvement in this project has given students the chance to unlock their aptitudes, passions and interest and apply their knowledge to something real and meaningful.
Claire Honey, Contract Manager for Urban Enterprise at RIO said: “Cann Bridge is totally committed to creating new and innovative ways for students to engage with real world opportunities and gain work experience. ‘We Cann’ not only provides this but also an opportunity to connect with the community and give volunteers the chance to be part of something truly rewarding. We have worked with staff to develop the enterprise idea, to make new business connections and to create a model which can be applied to other products and reused time and time again.”
The project is being launched at Tor Bridge High on Monday 6 July between 4-6pm. People interested in attending or knowing more about the project are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.