Students support IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign

Students support IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign

Posted On 20th December 2013 By Nichola Taylor

Tis the season of giving - so students from Newcastle College have teamed up with IKEA Gateshead to help raise money for thousands of children worldwide this Christmas.

The second year students from the BTEC Diploma in Interior, Furniture and Fine Product are supporting IKEA’s annual campaign and helping the IKEA Gateshead store to promote a range of soft toys which, when sold, will help fund 16 education projects in 14 countries.

The Soft Toys for Education Campaign runs over the Christmas period. For every soft toy sold throughout IKEA stores, 1 Euro will be donated to UNICEF and Save the Children.

The link between IKEA and the college developed last year when 3D Design students were asked to create new and innovative designs from existing IKEA furniture to display instore. The project was such a success that the college was invited back to work with the home furniture retailer to help promote The Soft Toys for Education Campaign.

IKEA Gateshead sent the students a range of soft toys and asked them to come up with innovate and fun designs for point of sale displays. Each student chose a different toy and then based their design around how the toy inspired them. The designs include, a giant panda made from paper mache, a large aluminium sardine can, a wooden block of cheese and MDF wooden house for the toy gnomes, both cut by computer generated laser. The students unveiled them in the IKEA Gateshead store on Thursday 19 December, in the middle of the store’s key Christmas shopping period.

The IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign was launched in 2003 and has raised nearly £8.8 million for children around the world. All 286 IKEA stores worldwide take part in the campaign, which raises money to help improve school facilities, provide access to water and sanitation, ensure disabled children have the opportunity to learn and provide supplies such as books, pencils and writing pads to children and teachers.

Simon Bolam, Lecturer on the BTEC Diploma in Interior, Furniture and Fine Product, said: “The students have had a fantastic time working on this project. For them, this has not only been a live brief which will help them to prepare for when they get a job, but a chance to support a really worthwhile cause. Working with IKEA Gateshead has had huge benefits for the students. It is a huge brand worldwide and a good example of the kind of high profile clients that many of our students go on to work with.”

Michael Cox, IKEA Gateshead Local Marketing Manager, said, “It has been a real pleasure to work with Newcastle College again. The students have shown real passion and enthusiasm in creating their work, supporting a global IKEA initiative. IKEA Gateshead recognises the importance of working with local educational bodies, especially those related to furniture design. We are always happy to support the development and growth of ambitious young people in our local community.”

Lynsey Holt, 18 from Washington, who is a second year student on the BTEC Diploma in Interior, Furniture and Fine Product, said: “I loved the fact that we were given free rein to be creative with this project. Everyone loves soft toys and there is so much scope to be creative. I can’t wait to see our work in IKEA Gateshead. It is nice to know that we are helping to sell the toys and raise money for such a good cause.”

Nathan Wright, 17 from East Herrington, added: “This has been a challenging, but fun project. Working on live briefs is a great experience and gives you a good insight into the kind of thing employers would expect you to do.”

The BTEC Diploma in Interior, Furniture and Fine Product is a specialist course developing skills in a range of design disciplines, such as interiors, architecture, product and transport design. For more information on this and the range of other courses available within the college’s School of Creative Industries, visit or call 0191 2004000.