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Issue:- 17 October 2013

Students have designs on turning windows at Pyramids Shopping Centre 10 shades of green

 Front, Kelly Risley and Angela O'Brien, with from left, Wirral’s Eco Schools Officer, Lynn Struve, Jane George, Dan McWaters, Laura Reedman, Abbie Roberts, Tali Harris, Course Leader, Colette Mawdsley, Commercial Director for Pyramids Shopping Centre, Derek Millar, and Jessica Frodin.

TALENTED design students will be using store windows at Birkenhead's Pyramids Shopping Centre to highlight vital messages about helping to save the planet.

The group from Hugh Baird College in Bootle will be producing a series of powerful displays specifically tailored to alerting shoppers to the importance of green issues such as recycling, biodiversity and controlling litter in our towns.

The shopping centre has joined forces with the further education college and Wirral Council's Eco Schools Department to launch the Ten Shades of Green project, which will see 10 windows in the shopping centre becoming the setting for the eye-catching displays, most of which will be created using recycled materials.

The project is the brainchild of Wirral's Eco Schools Officer Lynn Struve who explained that while getting across the green message to younger schoolchildren and adults was relatively easy, persuading those in the age group in between to take notice was much more difficult.

Lynn said:- "As part of the work my department does in local schools, we were looking for a way of engaging with secondary students. With young children, ecological issues tend to be seen in either black or white but as they get older things aren't so straightforward. We were therefore looking at ways to reach the mid-teenagers and we decided that one thing they love to do is shop and they also understand brand marketing, so that's why we came up with the Ten Shades of Green project using windows at the busy Pyramids Shopping Centre. I'd heard about the foundation degree course in Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design at Hugh Baird College and decided to ask its course leader, Colette Mawdsley, if her students might be willing to get involved with the project. I'd met up with her at the visual merchandising end of year degree show in Liverpool and it was good to see her again because we were actually at school together. We talked and Colette agreed to have her second year students work on the window displays."

Front, Kelly Risley and Angela O'Brien, with from left, Wirral’s Eco Schools Officer, Lynn Struve, Jane George, Dan McWaters, Laura Reedman, Abbie Roberts, Tali Harris, Course Leader, Colette Mawdsley, Commercial Director for Pyramids Shopping Centre, Derek Millar, and Jessica Frodin.

Lynn said that 17 of the students are currently working on designs for the displays, with 10 eventually being selected by a team of judges to produce the final creations focusing on the 10 key messages of minimalisation of waste, recycling, energy, healthy living, transport, litter, biodiversity, water, food and green homes.

The top 10 designs will be put in place and showcased to the public in Pyramids Shopping Centre from Tuesday, 19 November 2013.

Lynn added:- "Hugh Baird is one of only three FE colleges in the country currently offering the Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design course, so we are delighted to have students from it getting involved in Ten Shades of Green. It's a very exciting project and a nice example of partnership working between the shopping centre, my department and the college. It will also be a valuable piece of practical work which will look good on the students' CVs. Hopefully, it could be the first of many projects we do with Pyramids Shopping Centre."

Derek Millar, Commercial Director for Pyramids Shopping Centre, said:- "Pyramids Shopping Centre is at the heart of the Wirral community and so we are only too happy to link up with other organisations in the area for worthwhile projects such as these. I wish the students lots of luck with their ideas and look forward to seeing the final displays."

Colette Mawdsley, who leads the course the students are on at Hugh Baird College, said:- "We were delighted to get involved in Ten Shades of Green because this year is the tenth anniversary of the launch of our 2 year foundation degree course in Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design. My college pioneered it and since its launch a couple more colleges in the south of England have started to run something similar. However, Hugh Baird is still the only college in the north of the country offering it. After they graduate our students will design window displays for high street shops, doing everything from the initial research and design work to dressing the mannequins, so you could say that producing designs for Ten Shades of Green is right up their street. Being part of the project is also great from the college's point of view because it fits in with our two priority areas of globalisation and sustainability. The 17 students involved are already working on their designs and when the final 10 who will actually produce the displays are chosen there will be funding from Wirral Council's Eco Schools Department to buy the materials used to make up the designs. We are hoping to use quite a lot of recycled material in the displays, such as bottles, general waste materials and plastic knives and forks."

One of the students hoping to have their design accepted is 29 year old Kelly Risley, of Knotty Ash in Liverpool, who signed up for the course to help further her career as a visual merchandiser with the Primark clothing store in Liverpool City Centre. She said:- "I've been with the company for 6 years and started working on the tills. Four years ago I was promoted to the VM team which does the window displays for the store and I joined the course to help me progress to the design team at Head Office level. I think it's brilliant that we have been given the opportunity to be part of the Ten Shades of Green project. I'm already working on my design, which will be on the theme of energy. It will use lots of old lightbulbs and hopefully show that although they can't be recycled they can be re-used. I'll also be using fossil fuels, like perhaps coal and oil, to show that they are where most of our energy comes from in the 1st place. To brighten the whole thing up a bit I will be putting in some flowers, to show that energy can also be green. There's a lot of competition amongst the students to have their designs chosen but it's all very friendly and we're having lots of fun with it. It would be great to have my design picked and seen by lots of people."

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