Hartlepool academy’s new shop and training venture to open in Middleton Grange

Catcote Futures post 19 student, Cheryl Mcdonald and Catcote Academy year 11 student Mathew Popplewell stock the shelves in the Catcote Metro shop inside of Middleton Grange. Picture by FRANK REID
Catcote Futures post 19 student, Cheryl Mcdonald and Catcote Academy year 11 student Mathew Popplewell stock the shelves in the Catcote Metro shop inside of Middleton Grange. Picture by FRANK REID

A shop with a difference in Middleton Grange shopping centre opens for business next week.

Catcote Metro will sell hand-crafts made by Catcote Academy students, craft goods from across the world and official Fairtrade products.

Alice Crimson Catcote futures post19 student with a selection of items for sale in the Catcote Metro shop. Picture by FRANK REID

Alice Crimson Catcote futures post19 student with a selection of items for sale in the Catcote Metro shop. Picture by FRANK REID

Students from the academy in Catcote Road will gain valuable work experience and it will also serve as a teaching and training base for older Catcote Futures students.

The unit has been transformed after standing empty for nine years after being loaned to Catcote Academy by Middleton Grange owners, the Mars Pension Fund.

Catcote headteacher Alan Chapman said: “It is an opportunity for us to get our students out into the community and get retail experience in a real shop interacting with customers, handling money and accreditation in retail.

“Middleton Grange and their landlords have been fully supportive. We couldn’t have achieved this without them.”

The Catcote Metro shop located inside of Middleton Grange. Picture by FRANK REID

The Catcote Metro shop located inside of Middleton Grange. Picture by FRANK REID

The shop will be used as a base for young people aged 16-29 on Youth Employment Initiatives and those working towards apprenticeships.

Bursary students will also work in the shop and get paid.

Middleton Grange centre manager Mark Rycraft said: “They have transformed what was a vacant unit into a viable and interesting business.”

It opens on Monday.

Holding items for sale in the Catcote Metro shop are (left to right) James Clarke and Mathew Steele (catcote futures post19 students0 with Amanda Metcalf (sixth form lead youth employment initiative). Picture by FRANK REID

Holding items for sale in the Catcote Metro shop are (left to right) James Clarke and Mathew Steele (catcote futures post19 students0 with Amanda Metcalf (sixth form lead youth employment initiative). Picture by FRANK REID

Catcote Academy job coach Joanne Barker and youth employment initiative participant Ashley Aston fill the shelves in The Catcote Metro shop . Picture by FRANK REID

Catcote Academy job coach Joanne Barker and youth employment initiative participant Ashley Aston fill the shelves in The Catcote Metro shop . Picture by FRANK REID