A funding freeze for special needs education has prompted Manchester's Langdon College to open its first charity shop to expand opportunities for students.
The move comes as the college prepares for an increase to 23 students after its September intake.
Plans for the shop were announced to civic dignitaries and parents at an open evening in Radcliffe yesterday. The independent residential Salford college - offering further education to Jewish teenagers with special needs - expects the charity shop to open by November. It will double as a real-life classroom, enabling 16-19-year-olds to gain retail qualifications.
Principal Christopher Mayho said Langdon - whose annual funding has remained static at around £1 million - is only £10,000 off its £50,000 fundraising target to open the shop, titled Re-Loved.
"Funding levels have remained the same for the last four years," he reported.
The shop will give students retailing experience
"The difficulty we all face at Langdon, just as much as anywhere, is net increase in costs, like rising energy bills.
"We can't raise fees because they are already set, even though increases in costs are going to have negative impact on us. It just means we have to be more economical, but also look to find other ways to achieve the same goals in education. It is one reason why we are looking to develop different education opportunities."
The business will give students City and Guilds qualifications in retail, finance and merchandising. The £50,000 funding will provide premises, equipment, shop staff and specialist workers. A search for premises is under way.
Mr Mayho stressed that Re-Loved would not compete with north Manchester's other Jewish charity shops. Although the main goal was to increase qualifications offered to students, he hoped revenue could be ploughed back into the venture. Two months ago, Langdon students launched a Re-Loved presence on eBay, selling new and used baby items.