Beds, Herts & Bucks

School cafe in Bedford built from 100% recycled waste

Castle Newnham School cafe Image copyright Michele Smith
Image caption The cafe at Castle Newnham School, on Polhill Avenue, now has the "wow factor" said its principal, Ruth Wilkes

A school has become a "living breathing example of sustainability" by transforming an unused area into a cafe made from 100% recycled materials.

The cafe at Castle Newnham, Bedford, was created using discarded items taken from around the school site.

Principal Ruth Wilkes said pupils had been shown exactly what can be achieved through recycling.

Designer Nikkita Palmer said: "I wanted to make something the pupils could learn from and love."

Image copyright Nikkita Palmer
Image caption The cafe was made from left over wood from builders working on the site, old science stools and other unused items
Image copyright Nikkita Palmer
Image caption The waste bin was made from an old unwanted textiles cupboard
Image copyright Michele Smith
Image caption One pupil said the school's eaterie made "you feel like you're in a cafe in town"

She said the project was one of the most enjoyable she had worked on and she had been given a £1,000 budget.

The money was raised by pupils at the state school, but the work was carried out by Ms Palmer.

It meant she raided every skip and cupboard at the school to find the materials, which included old science stools, an old textiles cupboard and abandoned pallets.

Ms Wilkes said: "This project really has become a living breathing example of sustainability for the pupils.

"They are aware of the need to protect the environment and this is one way they have contributed to it."

One Year 9 pupil said the cafe was "much more relaxed that a normal dining hall - you feel like you're in a cafe in town", while another in the year below said "it makes us realise what you can do with rubbish".

Image copyright Nikkita Palmer
Image caption Nikkita Palmer has written a book about recycled furniture called Pallet Style with Mr Barker - Mr Barker being her partner

Ms Palmer, 25, lives on a narrow boat in Northamptonshire and has her workshop in Stevington, just outside Bedford, with her partner Billy Barker, 35.

She said she was brought up, out of necessity, to buy from car boot sales and charity shops.

"Being from a single parent family, we had very little money," she said.

"I hated it then, but now I love it, as it taught me to take unwanted items, do them up and sell them to make money."

Image copyright Rachel Atkinson
Image caption Ms Palmer built a kitchen from reclaimed wood which is now being used at the Made In Bedford at Number 13 cafe

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