How Laithwaite’s old wine crates are helping children learn life skills

Pupils from a special school in Reading have visited Laithwaite’s headquarters to sell items made from recycled wine crates.

Staff began their Christmas shopping on Wednesday 5th December, buying bird and bug boxes, trays, shoe racks and book marks from the youngsters.

Brookfiels SEN School is an outstanding school for pupils with a range of special educational needs. The school’s Enterprise Education allows children to take steps towards independence by learning practical skills and showing initiative in a team environment.

Supported by teachers and volunteers, schoolchildren have upcycled old wine crates in an effort to raise funds for more projects.

Natasha, who joined the school in Year Seven, really enjoys the Enterprise Education sessions because she learns skills she will be able to use outside of school.

Upcycling wine crates

Old wine crates and corks are used to create pin boards

“We take apart something old and make it into something new,” she explained.

“We sand them, paint them, take the nails out. My favourite thing to make is the cork boards.”

The pupils are assisted by members of The Silvers Workshop, a charity which allows men to socialise while learning woodwork skills. Five regular volunteers visit Brookfields’ workshop and prepare the materials before the students put everything together and decorate the items.

Hazel, who runs the Brookfields Enterprise Education programme, has been working with Laithwaite’s for years. We support the school by providing crates and corks to be used as material and then the items are sold to our staff and customers.

Upcycling wine crates

The full display pupils had put together at Laithwaite’s HQ


“We took three students to the London Live event and they loved it,” Hazel said.

“One of the girls was explaining all the items to the customers, she did really well.”

Hazel says the project allows the pupils to learn other important life skills.

“It’s all about working in a team. When we come to sell the items like this the students help to display the stuff and label the items. They are brilliant at it.”

Upcycling wine crates

Staff at Laithwaite’s HQ buying the handmade items


Taking charge of collecting the materials and thinking of ways they can be used, Hazel is now looking forward to starting a new project with the children – making Christmas Eve boxes.

As well as teaching the pupils new skills, the Enterprise Education programme helps both the school and Laithwaite’s cut back on waste. Every single part of the wine crate is used, with any scraps being sold as bags of kindling or turned into garden labels.

Brookfields SEN School is always on the look out for more businesses to work with who may be able to donate materials or suggest items to be made. You can get in touch via email to


About Laithwaite's Wine

Laithwaite's began in 1969, when Tony Laithwaite took a job washing bottles in Bordeaux... and fell in love with real wine and the people who make it. When he borrowed a van to share these delicious wines with friends and neighbours at home, things went so well that boutique wineries were soon queuing to take part. Today we're the UK's No.1 home-delivery wine merchant, with over 1,500 wines to choose from... including red, white and rosé, plus Champagne and sparkling, beer and cider.

4 thoughts on “How Laithwaite’s old wine crates are helping children learn life skills

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *