Glasgow student designs first product in John Lewis Building Happier Futures scheme

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
“I see these bags and I see them in stores and it makes me really proud. I am a care experienced individual and we can do a bunch of incredibly amazing things.”

A student from Glasgow has created the first product in a new range that has launched across John Lewis and Waitrose stores after being selected for a programme offering ‘care-experienced’ individuals employment opportunities. 18-year-old Michael Archibald worked in collaboration with in-house designers and the fashion company Saatchi & Saatchi to put his own stamp on a tote bag.

Through bold colours and Japanese-inspired shapes, Michael sought to express the brilliance and resilience of care experienced young people. Following various one-on-one workshops the tote is now available for purchase with all profits raised invested back into the Building Happier Futures programme. The charity raised £1.1 million in the first year alone and successfully found creative jobs for 66 young people in Glasgow, with the help of Who Cares? Scotland. 

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Building Happier Futures programme is an ongoing scheme which identifies creative people who have experience in the care system to offer employment opportunities. This includes work experience, and guidance on CV writing and interview skills.

Michael Archibald said: “I see these bags and I see them in stores and it makes me really proud. I am a care experienced individual and we can do a bunch of incredibly amazing things. It is about making sure people can acknowledge this is something that’s really important and care experienced folk should have the same opportunities as everybody else does. There is no line where they’re lesser than anyone else. There’s no form where they don’t deserve these opportunities.”

“This started off because I was keeping up with Who Cares? Scotland. There was an opportunity to work with some kind of company, it was all about people who have creative inclinations, people who could do art. I was really interested though it wasn’t disclosed who it’d be for. 

“One day I got a random email asking me to call them the next day. They asked me to come in the next week and luckily I was very very free. I was already nice and comfortable with the Who Cares? Scotland studio so that was nice and I was able to meet a bunch of amazing people. 

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We were looking at all these different things in the design like what inspires you. I knew I wanted to keep it quite simplistic but eye catching. For the art piece I submitted I had drew the sun as the North Star and I had used that as inspiration. I wanted to express care experienced folk, the star is their essence, this is what represents them. And then around it everything is nice and organic. It just shows how these two different things can work in tandem.”

Louise Hunter, Chief Executive of Who Cares? Scotland, said: “Building Happier Futures and the partnership with John Lewis has been a real game changer for us as an organisation. They’ve brought us into something where for the past eighteen months we’ve been able to work in a genuine partnership around firstly what we can do to raise awareness of care experience around Scotland and the UK but also how can we create these opportunities for young people to come together and have fun and connection and meet other people who are care experienced and might have had a similar background.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.