Pre-Loved Shop & Cafe

The Preloved Project aims to promote sustainable ways of living through informational and practical workshops

The Preloved Project

The Preloved Project is a multifaceted project – primarily a learning hub for students at Ascent College with a focus on embedding a range of employability skills and experiential learning opportunities for students who work on the site. Such as, but not limited to:

  • Retail
  • Hospitality
  • Woodwork
  • Furniture restoration
  • Horticulture
  • Planning, preparation and delivery of workshops

As the name suggests, The Preloved Project aims to promote sustainable ways of living through informational and practical workshops in areas such as furniture upcycling, horticulture, reducing food waste and home composting. The site also offers a shop which sells various preloved, zero-waste, plastic free and/or sustainable products in addition to a small cafe area which is open to the public at designated times throughout the week (during term time). Students work alongside staff to run and manage the various areas across the site.

Students are working with a horticulturalist to establish a large market garden which includes a community food waste composting scheme and will enable the students to develop skills in areas such as horticulture and woodwork. The aim of the market garden will be to grow a variety of fruit and vegetables and create baskets and planters which will be available for members of the community to purchase.

The site aspires to be a hub for the community; currently offering weekly Snack ‘n’ Craft sessions for toddlers, planned and delivered by students at Ascent, and will continue to explore other opportunities to involve the community.

Independent living skills 

Students look at how they can prepare for life outside of college by exploring different occupational activities such as serving refreshments in the cafe or upcycling furniture in the workshop. This builds on independent living skills by allowing students to work on improving their money skills and managing resources.

Organisation and learning skills/managing change

By offering a range of student-led activities, the Preloved Project provides students with the opportunity to take responsibility for organising and planning ahead.  In addition this allows students to develop their resilience to manage unexpected changes when dealing with members of the public.


As we provide a range of different workshops at the Preloved Project, students are able to build on their resilience towards less favoured activities. Also this allows them to work on building their engagement with unfamiliar people to create something new from something old, a piece of furniture or a planter etc.


At the Preloved Project, we try to allow students to gain occupational skills in a range of areas. For example, barista and hospitality skills in the cafe, upcycling/woodwork skills in the workshop, horticulture skills in the polytunnel and organising community sessions and workshops for children aged 2-6 during our Snack ‘n’ Craft sessions.


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