A renovated shipping container in Whanganui will serve as a café and social enterprise over the summer, providing work for young people. The Common Ground Pop Up will operate on a vacant site in the town centre and will be run by Paul Fletcher.

Ellen Young, the head of the Whanganui town centre regeneration project, said that the pop-up container was a good way to improve the town centre, in more ways than one.

“It’s a beautiful spot,” she said. “We jumped right on board because these kinds of pop-up spaces create so much vibrancy in town and it’s just such a good idea.” She praised Fletcher, saying it was a good example of a joint enterprise between the council, the landowner and the café. The landowner is renting out the land for free.

The café will employ young people being supported by the Ministry of Social Development and 100% SWEET (Students in Whanganui, in Education, Employment and Training) as well as community organisation Te Ora Hau.

Organiser Paul Fletcher said that the purpose of the initiative was to “give them real on-site work experience, how to work as a team, how to interact with customers,” with the eventual aim of leading on to further employment opportunities.

Burns & Ferrall is offering the chance for one lucky company to win a fully functional commercial kitchen housed in a recycled container, worth over $125,000. Simply spend $1000 at Burns & Ferrall to go into the draw.