Schoolchildren get creative with scrap

A competition urging schoolchildren to create arts and crafts from scrap materials has launched across the UK

The Start Imagining ‘upcycling’ scheme is offering primary and secondary schools the chance to get involved in a competition to build a model boat that will then be exhibited in London in June to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.

‘From Tip to Ship’, organised by sustainable living enterprise Start, is being rolled out in schools now, urging 5-16 year olds to take part. Free online resource packs are being made available, showing children practical skills such as knitting and sewing, and providing a selection of art and design projects such as how to build a Junk City, make a puppet, Stuff Your Own Doodle, and make Tetra Ants and Plastic Portraits. Each project shows that reusing materials is preferable to throwing them away.

The competition is inspired by the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, where up to 1,000 boats will journey down the River Thames in London on 3 June, as part of the celebrations marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The winning creations, and five runner-up entries, will then form part of an exhibition to be displayed at the Discover Greenwich centre at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich throughout June. Winners will also receive a tour of London, as well as art kits.

The initiative is a collaboration between Start Imagining, Cool it Schools, Craft Club and Freecycle and was officially launched on 31 January by Start’s chief executive Joey Tabone, as well as celebrities including baker Angela Griffin, crafts expert Mister Maker, and actress Martha Howe-Douglas from CBBC’s Horrible Histories. Crafts Council chair Joanna Foster CBE and National Maritime Museum Royal River exhibition curator Kris Martin also attended the launch and will act as competition judges.

The initiative aims to give a positive, entertaining message about getting more out of our resources, while firing up the imagination of the next generation.

Joey Tabone said: “Young people often care the most about the planet’s resources, as it affects what kind of world they grow up in.”

William Dean, the head teacher of Highgate Primary School, one of the schools taking part, said: “To be able to make something practical and beautiful from material that we would normally think of as rubbish gives children a sense of fulfilment, while learning skills that can last a lifetime.”

The competition is open to any UK educational establishment and all competition entries must be received by 16 April 2012.