Youth zone team's ambitious project to turn shipping containers to homes for Wigan rough sleepers

Enterprising young people at Wigan Youth Zone have come up with a bold business idea to tackle homelessness and help the planet at the same time.

Friday, 26th April 2019, 3:47 pm
Updated Friday, 26th April 2019, 4:54 pm
Wigan Youth Zone

Project Homezone has been set up at the Parson’s Walk facility as an entry for the Young Enterprise Competition.

Other news: Needles found sticking up through sand at fire-wrecked Wigan children's play areaAfter going through a number of different ideas for innovative products they could market they hit on the idea of turning shipping containers into housing for those without a roof over their heads.

And although the team, aged between 12 and 16, was pipped to the post in the contest by a group from Winstanley College, the council and the project’s business supporters were so impressed they have vowed to help make the idea a reality.

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Project Homezone now has its own marketing material, website and social media accounts and talks are under way to potentially turn a brownfield site behind the new Armed Forces Hub in Wigan into the first location for accommodation.

Technical director and Wigan Youth Zone member Gemma Unsworth, 14, said: “I’ve massively enjoyed working on the Project Homezone social action project, I’ve managed to meet new young people and work together on something we’re all passionate about.

“It’s also allowed me to learn new skills in marketing, social media, promotion and project management, with help from local business people.

“Throughout the process my confidence has grown, with my public speaking in particular improving. In March I even spoke in front of 80 people at one of the Youth Zone’s business breakfasts.

“It’s been a really exciting few months and I can’t wait to see our idea come to life.”

The team decided its project would have to fit green credentials as well as improving the lives of vulnerable people and came up with the plan to upcycling shipping containers to create the start-up housing.

Each will be fitted with basic living provisions, with a small living room containing a desk, a kitchen, bedroom and wet room.

The young people worked with Jackie Salt, a youth zone supporter and commercial manager at Attain, Mike Sharkey from Greenmount Projects and Lisa McAllister at Lines Henry for months on the idea.

Attain Digital also helped them design a prototype version of the accommodation.

For more information about Project Home Zone visit www.projecthomezone.co.uk or follow the scheme on Twitter @ProjectHomeZone