Student Joe’s bird box design ready to fly off the charity shop shelves

Date 11.03.2022

Charity shop shoppers across the UK will soon be able to buy an eco-friendly birdhouse that’s been designed by a University of Northampton student.

Joe Hurren’s bird box design, which is made from recycled wood, will soon be going into production before being sold in Sue Ryder charity shops across the nation.

Joe was one of four Product Design students who accepted a challenge to come up with garden items made from pallets and recycled wood, with the chance of them being made and sold in the shops, with all proceeds going to the palliative, neurological and bereavement support charity.

“We’ve been really impressed with the ideas the students came up with and it’s great to know that Joe’s design was good enough to be made and sold in our shops,” said Caroline Hatfield, who is a buyer for Sue Ryder.

In addition to the bird box’s recycled credentials, the product is also playing a role in the British justice system, as it will be manufactured by people on probation in Bedfordshire.

Caroline said: “The East of England Probation Service is excited to engage with this project as in addition to the completion of their unpaid work hours, people on probation will be given the opportunity to gain some really useful transferrable skills which may reduce their likelihood of reoffending.  Joe’s design will help to provide meaningful work for people on probation, much needed funds for the charity, and will therefore benefit society more widely.”

From left, Jack Shave, Joe Hurren, Caroline Hatfield from Sue Ryder, May-Louise Ellis-Handley and lecturer Paul Hines.

Joe, who is a second year student, said: “I was delighted they chose my bird box for production and I can’t wait to see it on sale in the shops. I’ve really enjoyed this project and what’s made it even better for me is that its satisfying to be able to support a charity.”

Product Design Programme Leader, Paul Hines, has been impressed with the students’ efforts.

He said: “The project is part of our Wednesday Social, which is an extra-curricular group, so everybody who has taken part has done it voluntarily, in addition to their main studies. I think they all get satisfaction from the project, as it not only helps them to develop their skills and get experience of working with industry, but they are also supporting a great cause at the same time.”

Jack Shave.

May-Louise Ellis-Handley.

The three other students who took part in the challenge were first years May-Louise Ellis-Handley and Ella Sharman and second year, Jack Shave.

Discover more on what it means to be a Changemaker University.