Chesterfield school pupils transform old crisp packets into blankets for homeless

Pupils from a Chesterfield primary school have recycled hundreds of old crisp packets and transformed them into survival blankets for the homeless.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 8:49 am

The children at Spire Junior School handed over a total of five crisp packet blankets to Pathways of Chesterfield a service for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness in Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire, on Tuesday, May 18.

Each blanket took around 150 empty packets to make and featured personal messages of hope from the pupils themselves.

They were created by ironing the packets and then fusing them together with a protective and waterproof plastic sheeting, with the foil inside ideal for reflecting a person’s body heat back onto them to keep them warm on the streets.

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Chesterfield Spire Junior School crisp packet project. Members of the school council with Sarah Sammans, lead nurse at Pathways of Chesterfield.
Chesterfield Spire Junior School crisp packet project. Members of the school council with Sarah Sammans, lead nurse at Pathways of Chesterfield.

Joanne Boulton, learning mentor at Spire Junior School, explained: “The councillors got together and decided they wanted to do something for the homeless and they wanted to raise money but obviously with coronavirus and bringing money into school we couldn’t do that.

"So, I fell on the Crisp Packet Project. Our Year 6 students, because they’re a lot older, took it on board to do them so they ironed all the crisp packets together and ironed all the plastic on.

"Obviously the inside of the crisp packets are silver insulated so they just keep the homeless people dry, they can put them on the floor as a ground sheet, wrap themselves up in them to keep them warm.

"We had thousands of crisp packets brought in, then we had to wash them. We had a production line, the children cut all the crisp packets up then they ironed them with grease proof paper on top.”

With a single packet taking around 80 years to decompose, the repurposing helps both the environment and the most vulnerable members of society.

Following the handover on Tuesday, representatives from Pathways spoke to the children about their work with the homeless and around mental health.

The blankets will now benefit the homeless population in Chesterfield and north Derbyshire, especially during the colder months.

Ms Boulton added: "There is actually a homeless gentleman that Gussies kitchen – at St Augustine’s Parish Church – help out at the moment. He goes there for food and so on so one will be given to Gussies kitchen for that gentleman.”

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