Business and school partnership results in creative van art

30th November 2015

School pupils will be watching the road for traffic this week, watching out for white vans with a difference. A project led by two Cumbrian businesses has enabled students at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School to stretch their creativity by designing a van bonnet that expresses how they feel about their local community. The winning designs are now covering two PPM Ltd vans that travel across Eden.

PPM Ltd, the Cumbrian property maintenance company has been providing day to day property maintenance service to Eden Housing Association for three years. Keen to develop their partnership in the community, PPM Ltd has joined forces with EHA Community Development Team to develop an apprenticeship roadshow visited Kirkby Stephen Grammar School to talk about apprenticeships with year ten and eleven students.

This visit led PPM Ltd.’s Managing Director Gordon McGregor to consider how they could stimulate students to think more about their community and possibly discover a new range of job opportunities. Liaising with Sarah Bowman, Community Development Officer at Eden Housing Association, and teacher Mrs Modlin, (also Careers Advisor for the school), they launched a creative project to design a PPM van bonnet.

Sarah Bowman, Community Development Officer at Eden Housing Association said “Chatting to Gordon it became clear that this would be a great way for young people to creatively express how they see their community and at the same time, think through the whole process, from design to production. If it sparks interest in new career opportunities or gets them thinking about the variety of jobs available within a single business, that can only be for the good.”

Students from across the school worked on designs through the summer. The seventy entries were judged by Gordon McGregor from PPM Ltd and John Clasper, Managing Director at Eden Housing Association. Initially they were looking for one winning design for a van, but the standard was so high, they created two winners who both had their designs transferred on to vans, they also added highly commended awards for impressive creativity.

The winners were congratulated at a school assembly this week, when the two newly liveried vans drove into the school grounds.

The winning van designs came from Alice Fawcett and Nathan Wolstenholme, with Highly Commended Awards presented to Amy Macdonald, Ella Capstick, Hayley Pinder and Benjamin Cottrell.

Commenting on the winning entries, the judges said “Alice’s design made an impression with colour and content and encompassed so much of the community and environment. In contrast, Nathan’s design had a real impact, the simplicity and the quality of his illustrations were excellent and it has a strong sporting link.”

Speaking after the assembly, Gordon McGregor, Managing Director at PPM Ltd said “We have around 90 staff working in a variety of roles from maintenance engineers to office administration and accounts and also offer apprenticeships. We’re proud of the maintenance service we offer, but we want to make an impact in our communities too. Working with organisations like Eden Housing Association has proved to be very effective; it demonstrates that together we can achieve more.”

Head Teacher Ruth Houston said “The school is delighted to work with local businesses like Eden Housing Association and PPM Ltd as part of our growing links between the school and local community. The title of this project “what our community means to me” was very meaningful and real for the students and it’s great to know the PPM vans will be seen regularly around the area.”

To find out more about supporting community activity, contact Sarah Bowman at Eden Housing Association on 01768 861 400.

Alice Fawcett with her design

Alice Fawcett with her design

Nathan Wolstenholme with his design

Nathan Wolstenholme with his design

Partnership working leads to creative design

New livery for PPM Ltd vans. Gordon McGregor MD at PPM Ltd with student Nathan Wolstenholme, Kirkby Stephen Grammar School Head Teacher Ruth Houston with Eden Housing Association’s Community Development Officer Sarah Bowman, Alice Fawcett with Beth Nicholls Communications and Development Officer for PPM Ltd


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