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Oct 05, 2018

Shipping container provides school with after-school programme

Three students from Cornerstone Christian School start an after-school programme out of a shipping container.

afterschool shipping container

Three students from Cornerstone Christian School couldn't contain their grand idea when they wanted to start an after-school programme out of a shipping container.

The container was placed on a spare patch of land in Crewe Cres Reserve, Palmerston North.

One of the students, Olivia de Groot, 18, said they were originally unsure if their idea would work.

As a part of the young enterprise scheme at their school, the students wanted to do something in their community.

Daniel McCracken, 17, said they considered having something mobile, but in the end decided on a container so they had "one thing planted so people can see it all the time".

They pitched the idea to Pascal Street Community Trust, who helped them bring their plan to life, once the city council gave permission to use the land.

Container Concepts New Zealand built the container and it was placed in the reserve in July.

"Usually shipping containers are just metal walls," McCracken said. "But when we saw the concept, we saw it could work."

Their programme, "Can't Contain it", runs every Tuesday from 3:30pm, both inside and outside the container.

"We nicknamed it 'the clubhouse' because 'shipping container' doesn't sound that friendly," de Groot said.

Their idea is to teach children how to read and write through interactive games, she said.

Inside the clubhouse are beanbags and board games, where children can read and play.

They also hope to add in some fold-down furniture, shelves, tables and benches.

"We're hoping to get power on sight as we have lights built into the container," McCracken said.

School deputy principal Graham Black, who worked with the students on the idea, said he'd wanted the vacant land to be used for something for a while.

He said Crewe Cres used to be a rough area, but now a lot of refugees lived there in state housing.

"We want to change the perspective of Crewe Cres," he said. "We want it to become a place of community and family."

The students said they hoped other community groups would also use the container.

"It is having a need met, but it has the possibility to be used for other things," De Groot said.