City College student leads the way on free hedgehog houses for schools and nurseries


City College Plymouth is offering free hedgehog houses to schools, nurseries and care homes that might wish to provide these prickly critters with somewhere safe and snug to sleep. 

Thanks to a scheme spearheaded by a 17-year-old student, the College has ten flatpack hedgehog houses that are easy to assemble and perfect for providing these cute creatures with a safe and secure home, where some might even raise a litter of hoglets. 

Oliwia Ignac, who is studying for a T Level in Onsite Construction, has had the opportunity to develop her skills in computer-aided design through this project, and she said she is pleased that her work could have such a positive impact on local wildlife. 

Oliwia said: “This initially started as a small project, but after receiving requests for houses from other departments at the College, we looked at how we could produce these on a bigger scale. Luckily, the College has a Kimla CNC machine at its Centre for Higher Technical Innovation and Maritime Skills, which I was shown how to use by one of the lecturers, and this equipment can take my design and produce the houses really quickly. 

“I hope schools, nurseries and care homes take up the offer – it is exciting to think people will be getting such enjoyment from the work I have been completing as part of my T Level qualification.”

Sean Stupples, construction lecturer at the College, said: “The flatpack houses are really quick and easy to assemble, so even young pupils can get involved if a teacher wanted to receive a house as part of a class project. 

“The College has big plans to become more sustainable as a site but is also looking at other ways we can contribute to protecting the environment. Oliwia spent some time researching the essential elements for a good hedgehog house: small entrance to keep it safe from predators, and she’s ensured that the house will withstand bad weather.”

Lance Chatfield, the Executive of Technical Innovation at the College, said: “The initiative not only cements the College’s ongoing commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and supports our local biodiversity but also provides us with the opportunity to ensure that this filters into the local community and schools. Sustainability is threaded throughout the fabric of our College, and our student community and staff are always looking for ways to ensure that future generations benefit from exciting and green projects such as these amazing hedgehog houses.”

The College is considering scaling up this scheme and offering the houses to the general public and would be interested in hearing from people who might wish to order a house in return for a donation to a local wildlife charity. The College is also appealing to anyone who might have spare MDF they wish to donate to the project.

You can get in touch with the College via Sean’s e-mail, if you would like to request one of the hedgehog houses, with houses to be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis to begin with. 

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