Kinlochleven High School takes enterprise education seriously. Enterprise groups throughout the school – all under the banner of Kinlochlovin’ – are making products from upcycled clocks to catnip mice and running businesses like a healthy café and a mobile nail bar. Not content to rest on their laurels, however, Kinlochlovin’ wants to go mobile!
After recently purchasing a retro caravan on eBay, the pupils and staff of Kinlochleven High School need your help getting their mobile shop on the road so they can take their amazing products and services to an even wider market. Beyoncé (yes, Beyoncé) the caravan is in need of some renovation before she can make the dreams of Kinlochlovin’ a reality.
You can support Kinlochlovin’ via their Crowdfunder campaign, here.
Anna McBride from Kinlochleven High School tells us a bit more about the incredible enterprise activity taking place at the school, where the idea for a mobile shop came from and how they chose the name Beyoncé…
SES: Tell us about some of the enterprise work that goes on at Kinlochleven High School?
AM: Our social enterprise is called Kinlochlovin’ and we set up in November 2015. Under the Kinlochlovin’ umbrella pupils can set up and run their own enterprise groups. Over the last year the groups have grown and consolidated. We have Buzz Buzz who are a craft group enterprise, their products include upcycled clocks and knitted hats. Scents make soaps and candles their latest Lego soap range seem to be a big success as stocking fillers. I love to Sew make handmade goods such as catnip mice and beautiful mice doorstops. CRe8 are an art and photography group who recently have designed postcards and are working towards developing their photography business. Pure run a healthy café within the school on Fridays and Nailed are our mobile nail bar who offer manicures and nail art. All of the enterprise groups run at lunchtime clubs, after school and sometimes at Saturday school!
SES: Do you engage with other organisations to help with the delivery of enterprise education/activity?
AM: Kinlochlovin’ is a registered charity and we employ 3 sessional workers who in total offer us 18 hours a week. They work in partnership with school staff volunteers and pupils. Kinlochlovin’ and the school work hard to complement employability and enterprise education which is already in action through the school to link learning and allow pupils to transfer their skills. There are already enterprise challenges ran through the business studies department such as the Real Business Challenge, the Tenner Challenge and Young Enterprise which allows the pupils to transfer and consolidate their skills. Also within the school we have an employability programme with PLP time and within this we invite community businesses in to work with the pupils. This enables Kinlochlovin’ to gain the support, advice and engagement of community partners and it is an area we are keen to develop.
SES: Why is social enterprise so important to the school and its pupils?
AM: When you live in a small rurally isolated community with pockets of deprivation it is very clear what barriers there are to a school experience. Kinlochleven may be a ‘small’ school statistically in pupil numbers but it is very mighty in pride, ethos and attitude. The young people here are very determined that they should have the same opportunities and experiences as anyone else in Scottish education. So from Duke of Edinburgh, dance and drama, watching world cycling or even playing Quidditch, Kinlochlovin’ makes it happen. Our pupils’ social enterprises enable it to happen through their profits, they remove the barriers of participation created by rural isolation and poverty. The pupils themselves are removing the barriers as they are working in their enterprises and investing their profits back into their community, supporting themselves and their peers. They are responsible citizens who are proving on a daily basis through their volunteering and enterprising activities that they are promoting inclusion, social justice and are effectively contributing to the long term sustainability of their community.
SES: Tell us a bit about the mobile shop, where did the idea come from?
AM: Our pupils are ambitious and since we have been selling and producing goods they have been very keen to have a shop. They recognise that although the community have been amazingly supportive in buying our products if we want to be successful in the long term we need to widen our custom. Also since we live in a small rural town the sustainability of owning and running premises seemed a problem we do not yet have the funds to do. So their first idea was to have a cart like shop but since Highland is such a large area transport could be problematic. So the internet was searched and discussions about how we could make it happen to make a mobile shop. We looked at adapted horse boxes, trailers, catering vans and then the caravan popped up on eBay.
SES: What will a mobile shop allow you to do that you can’t do right now?
AM: Right now we sell products at school events and some local fairs. The shop would give us the ability to move around locations on a more regular basis without having to constantly pack and unpack. Having the shop will give our young people first hand real work experience on a regular basis. It will enable us to make long term plans about what events and festivals we can travel to and hence focus our products to the markets which we aim to target. The shop will be real and really allow our young people to take ownership and allow them to feel more professional in the running of their enterprises.
SES: Why are you asking for support in getting the mobile shop up-and-running?
AM: We recognise that sometimes you just need to ask for help. The pupils have worked so hard all year and this is a big leap for us. Beyonce is not water tight and she needs a full renovation. So we are seeking the support of others to help with donations and expertise so we can ensure she gets a renovation which will last a lifetime. Beyonce as a mobile shop is a long term investment for us as an enterprise and she deserves to be given a makeover which reflects her uniqueness as a beautiful retro caravan. We also want the caravan to be the mobile business that our whole community can be proud of and so by asking for support we hope to involve as many people as possible.
SES: If people want to contribute (to the mobile shop), how can they do it?
AM: We have a Crowdfunder UK site set up to which people can donate. We are offering some very fun rewards to thank people for their support.
SES: And finally, why Beyonce?
AM: We put a name the caravan box in the school foyer and pupils put in ideas for names. When Beyonce came out of the box it just seemed right. She is a beautiful caravan and very bootlicious – well we hope she will be!