Student wins top prize for shopping bag handle design

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A SHOPPING bag handle which stops you forgetting your shopping was the winner of this year’s Designing for the Future competition.

Run by Horsham business, The Future Perfect Company and The College of Richard Collyer, the contest which encourages students to think about the challenges facing elderly people, was won by Collyer’s AS-Level student Alex Francis.

His ergonomic handle is designed to hold a number of shopping bags with a unique reminder ring which makes sure you never leave your bags behind again.

The runners up were no less ingenious. Mike Davies designed a vibrating pillow alarm clock ideal for deaf people and also considerate spouses not wanting to wake their partner.

Isabelle Parker devised an elegant heated back support and Sam Hammant came up with toast tweezers – perfect for extracting annoying pieces of toast stuck in the toaster.

Aston Cheesman’s design was a clever chair port with adjustable tray table and Ben Palmer took the idea of long handled back brushes a stage further with his shower aid which is pre-loaded with shower gel.

Philippa Aldrich, founder of The Future Perfect Company, said: “We are delighted to be running this competition for a second year with Collyer’s.

“The Horsham district has one of the fastest ageing populations in the UK and there is a real need for designers to think about the challenges that will bring.

“Alex’s shopping bag handle allows you to carry more than one shopping bag comfortably and the reminder ring makes sure you never leave your shopping behind.

“Although designed with older people in mind, this product has universal appeal and would be really useful for Christmas shopping.”

Judge Craig Barrow added: “The students showed a high quality of research and development within their chosen areas of work producing a wide range of ideas and interesting concepts. Congratulations to the winners.”

The competition was open to Collyer’s students on the GCE Advanced Subsidiary Product Design course.

The Future Perfect Company was born in 2009 when owner Philippa Aldrich was looking for ways to make life easier for relatives and friends facing the challenges of later life.

When investigating what products could and should be available to help the over 50s, she was horrified by the many dull, utilitarian products which looked as if they belonged in a hospital.

In time, Philippa became increasingly determined to champion the need for thoughtful design so she took the plunge and after 20 years as a city lawyer made her passion a reality when she established The Future Perfect Company.

Last year she won the West Sussex County Times Best New Business Award and was also a finalist in the Southern Business Awards.