The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth opens The Collective in Arundel Street which will be run by SEND students

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Hugh Mason has cut the ribbon to open a new shop stocked and run by students with additional needs from across the city.

By Sophie Lewis
Friday, 17th June 2022, 12:23 pm
Updated Friday, 17th June 2022, 12:23 pm

The Collective, in the Arundel Centre, Arundel Street, sells handmade gifts and artwork that has been carefully crafted by talented students from Solent Academies Trusts’ Mary Rose and Redwood Park Academies and the City of Portsmouth College.

The shop, which was visited by Lord Mayor Hugh Mason and Lady Mayoress Marie Costa, is offering work placements to SEND learners from the Solent Academies Trusts’ and City of Portsmouth College to equip them with employability skills for the future.

The Lord Mayor said: ‘This is no ordinary shop. In fact, it is an extraordinary shop, as there is no substitute for real life preparation for a job and here at The Collective students will gain real life experience of retail as well as confidence in their abilities.’

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Lord Mayor Hugh Mason and Lady Mayoress Marie Costa with SEND volunteers.

The students will sell items that they have produced at school, college or at the on-site workshop.

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Katie Johnston,16, is a student at SAT’s Redwood Park Academy and has made pottery plant pots which are for sale in The Collective.

Katie said: ‘I’m especially looking forward to working in the shop because it will teach me business skills and about working with money. I also enjoy talking to people.’

Aaron Hastings, Georgia Johnson and Kieran McLeod Castles, all aged 20 and CoPC Foundation Prospects students

Sharon Burt, chief executive officer of Solent Academies Trust, said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to be part of this collaboration with the City of Portsmouth College. This is a crucial aspect of our future focused curriculum, preparing pupils with the life skills and real-world employability experiences that are so vital for life beyond school and college,

‘So many people have been integral in the forming of The Collective and we would like to thank them all, including students, staff, families, the CoPC, Portsmouth City Council, and Buildbase who kindly donated all the wood which the students have used to make shelving and other display units for the shop.’

Hannah Parkinson, Foundation Learning Manager at CoPC said: ‘It promotes SEND students in the local community and gives opportunities for young people to develop their employability and interpersonal skills.’

The shop is in an ideal location and it is hoped that it will attract a large amount of passing trade from local residents.

Lord Mayor Hugh Mason and Lady Mayoress Marie Costa are shown some of the art work made in the The Collective workshop by Katie Johnston, a student at Solent Academies Trust's Redwood Park
George Field, a student at Solent Academies Trust's Redwood Park shows Lady Mayoress Marie Costa some of the bath products made by students which are for sale in The Collective