Artistic youngsters clean up well as Waterlooville trainer upcycling business awards winners of eco-friendly poster competition

PURBROOK schoolpupils having been taking steps towards a better planet thanks to the support of a family-run upcycling shoe business.

Thursday, 16th December 2021, 11:00 am
Updated Saturday, 18th December 2021, 9:14 am

Waterlooville company Vintage Trainers, which takes unloved shoes and restores them before selling them on at a low price, has been collaborating with Purbrook Junior School on a poster competition.

This term, Year 6 pupils have been learning about the theme ‘Reduce/Reuse/Recycle’.

After presenting an assembly to the youngsters, the Vintage Trainers team were asked to judge the school’s poster competition, deciding which works of art best promoted the eco-friendly theme.

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Hard at work. Picture: Alex Shute

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Mat Shaul, who co-founded Vintage Trainers along with his daughter Lauren and her partner Matt, said that the team chose 12 winners from ‘some absolutely outstanding poster designs’.

The talented winners were invited into the company’s warehouse, and as part of their prize, got to choose a pair of trainers to clean and then keep.

They were shown how to clean the trainers until they looked almost new.

Lily Smith, 11, Rudy Jones, 10, and Lily Rose Fitzwilliam, 11. Picture: Alex Shute

Mat said that having the children in has been ‘absolutely brilliant’.

He added: ‘I must say that the standard of all the posters we saw was incredible.

‘We will be displaying all of these posters in our showroom – with the 12 winners on a custom board outside the showroom – so everyone can visit and see the very impressive standard and ideas these children have. They are our future.’

Lauren Shaul also helped the children make Christmas Tree Planters with one-off trainers, and before they left, the children were presented with their own sneaker keyrings.

The pupils learn upcycling skills. Picture: Alex Shute

Mat added: ‘For us, it is about trying to work with the local community as much as possible.

‘We really want to educate and inform locally and much as we can.

‘This project went really well. The children all certainly gained a lot from it.

The lucky winners of the Vintage Trainers Poster Competition, Lily Smith, 11, Rudy Jones, 10 and Lily Rose Fitzwilliam, 11 of Purbrook Junior School attended the shop to choose and restore a set of trainers which they will eventually get to keep. Picture: Alex Shute

‘This is not about just throwing numbers and figures at the children but letting them get stuck in and experience the cleaning process so they can take that learning forward.

‘The children are all very interested in trainers and this seems to be the perfect way of teaching them some planet saving skills.

Mat added: ‘We would be really interested to hear from any other schools locally that would perhaps want to try something similar.’

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Restored trainers. Picture: Alex Shute