Claypole School Vintage Fair – Totemic Enterprise Project

The January 2015 report on ‘The Value of soft skills to the UK economy’ projects that the expected shortage in soft skills will cost the UK over £7.4 billion per year by 2020. The Totemic Enterprise project seeks to embed soft skills at an early age and raise money for charity at the same time.

Claypole School is one of those taking part again this year and is raising money for charity by organising a number of business ventures. Children from Year 6 (10 – 11 year olds) were each given £10 seed money by the Grantham based debt management business PayPlan.

The challenge involved each team coming up with a business idea to generate as much money as possible for their chosen charity. Innovative ideas were encouraged and an element of competition introduced.

The projects will embed not only maths and English but soft skills in the children so that they are better equipped to work in teams, manage their own time and enhance their communication and interpersonal skills. The children get minimal support from their teachers, who instead encourage the children to take the initiative and make their own decisions. All of this encourages the children to take responsibility for their own actions. These are all soft skills that have been identified as vital to UK.

Vintage Vixens

One of the pupils from Claypole School networking with local business Vintage Vixens

Projects have included organising Film Clubs, providing drone photography services, cake making and filling gaps in the market for school snacks. This weekend will see another Totemic Enterprise project culminate in the Claypole School Vintage Sale.

The children have worked hard to promote the event using social media and engaging with local business to get support.

We think that this is an excellent endeavour, as lack of soft skills has been identified as a barrier to employment in young people. Employers perceive that many young people “leave the education system insufficiently prepared for the workplace”. The findings of a report in 2012 produced by the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) supports this view, as many young unemployed people lack essential soft skills.

The CBI defines soft skills as including “the ability to work in a team; a willingness to demonstrate initiative and original thought; self-discipline in starting and completing tasks to deadline”. As such, they are the foundation of the behaviours needed to succeed in the workplace.

The Claypole School Vintage Sale takes place on Saturday 2nd May.

collection of Frank Sinatra records

A selection of Frank Sinatra records – vintage vinyl.

The children will be selling vintage clothing, good quality books, jewellery, ornaments and a collection of more “weird and wonderful items”, including my personal favourite – a selection of Frank Sinatra records on vinyl.

There will also be a raffle and tombola, with some more contemporary prizes donated by local businesses. The money raised will help to support a Kenyan Orphanage and to make improvements to the school playground.

It is very exciting that initiatives such as the Totemic Enterprise Project are tackling soft skills at such an early stage in the development of young people and to show our support, Optima Training is making this Vintage Week on our own Facebook page.

We will also be at the sale on Saturday helping to run some of the stalls. We would love to see you there.


The Claypole School Vintage Sale project has its own Twitter feed and Facebook page, where they showcase some of the items that will be available for sale this weekend.

Envy Signature Salon, the award winning contemporary hairdressing salon in Newark, is supporting the Claypole School Vintage Sale project by providing vouchers and products as raffle prizes.

Holdens is the long established furniture retailer in Newark. They are supporting the Claypole School Vintage Sale project by providing a selection of goodies for raffle prizes.

Cre8 Studios are supporting the Claypole School Vintage Sale project and have donated a number of vouchers for photo shoots at their studio in Newark. Cre8studios are a photographic lab with a Media arm for creating video content, print and design. Their photography services specialise in weddings, commercial work and portraiture.

Shirt Sleeves is an award winning clothing retailer that specialise in smart casual clothes that can be worn for a number of different occasions. They are supporting the Claypole School Vintage Sale project by providing a raffle prize.

Vintage Vixen are supporting the Claypole School Vintage Sale project and have donated a number of items to be included in the sale. Vintage Vixen stock a wide range of vintage clothing, accessories and costume jewellery from the 1940s through to the 1980s to cater for all tastes. They also carry a small range of repro items from Pop Boutique and have a good selection of vintage and retro home ware.