New picnic benches transform Plymouth City Centre

New picnic benches transform Plymouth City Centre

Ten new, brightly coloured picnic benches have been installed around Plymouth’s City Centre hand made by jobseekers with learning difficulties.The benches have been made by talented jobseekers at Pluss Training, an award winning national organisation that helps thousands of people with disabilities find careers.

They have replaced existing benches in the centre - which had seen better days – and 20 undergraduate BA (Hons) Printed Textile & Surface Pattern students from Plymouth College of Art decorated them.

The degree-level students were asked to come up with the best design for the benches and painted competition winner, second year Printed Textile & Surface Pattern student Sophie Minshall’s brightly-coloured lighthouse theme, with blue, black, red and white stripes, onto them.

The benches are for public use during events throughout the summer season and were made and designed by jobseekers with learning difficulties from Plymouth-based Pluss, on behalf of the city council and the Plymouth City Centre Company.

Each table has been hand-made, taking around a week to make, and Pluss Woodwork Trainer Paul Watkins said his students loved designing and working on the benches. He added: “The project has been really great for the team. Our guys are really hardworking and this project was an opportunity to really pull together as a team.

“Working on this large project has helped them develop a wider range of skills. Overall ten people with different abilities were involved and they have found it both rewarding and challenging.

“Already a number of people who have seen the picnic benches have placed orders. Pluss is looking forward to working on other projects with the City Centre Company in the future.”

Holly Reynolds, Marketing and Events Manager, Plymouth City Centre Company Ltd commented “This is a great example of Plymouth businesses pulling together - Drake Circus even allocated space where the benches could be painted!

“The City Centre BID were keen to work with Plymouth based businesses rather than outsourcing the job and we are delighted with the result. These benches will brighten up the centre and be enjoyed by people for many years to come.”

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