A FASHION designer who produces face masks from waste fabric is one of 50 students to get funding from trade charity retailTRUST and property company Hammerson.

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) students and graduates have been helped through financial awards, mentoring and start-up funding for retail-focused

business ideas.

The ongoing partnership between GCU, retailTRUST and Hammerson, first established in 2016, is being celebrated as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Georgia Barr, a retailTRUST scholarship recipient who studies Fashion Business Creation, has used the funding to further her studies and progress her sustainable fashion company, Offcut Clothing.

The label, which creates garments made from waste fabric otherwise destined for landfill, has diversified into selling face coverings during the pandemic. For every mask sold, Offcut donates one to charity.

Barr, who is set to graduate with distinction later this month, said: “Without my scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to study at GCU or progress my business ideas.

“Although Covid-19 has created an uncertain future for SMEs and the fashion industry, it has provided me with an opportunity to help the community, and the customer feedback I have received about the community values of my brand has been extremely positive.

“I can’t wait to see how I can take this to the next level and hopefully make a difference in the world of fashion.”

Earlier this year, students facing hardship due to Covid-19 were offered help by the partnership through a bursary scheme. The one-off grants helped many who lost part-time jobs in retail.

Amy Prendergast, director of Change, People and Learning at retailTRUST, said: “We are proud to be part of this innovative partnership, offering aspiring entrepreneurs access to training, mentoring and funding to help kick-start their own retail careers and business, as well as providing finance to talented students.

“Georgia’s outstanding result is a great example of the impact that our support has for a talented, entrepreneurial student and we wish her well for the future.

“We are also very glad to have been able to help more students with our bursary awards, and hope that this has helped to soften the impact of the pandemic.”

James Rogers, community manager at Hammerson, said: “This year has seen the pandemic present many challenges for new businesses and students, and highlighted the importance of supporting fashion students. We look forward to continuing our support of exciting emerging talent in the fashion industry through their education and businesses.”

Jillian Watt, director of the GCU Foundation, said: “The retail sector offers a diverse range of exciting careers, but it is also extremely fast-paced and challenging to enter.

“Through their generous support, retailTRUST and Hammerson offer funding and access to industry experts that enable our students to pursue their chosen career as well as helping them develop robust and sustainable businesses.

“This year we are very grateful that more GCU students have benefited financially through the bursary awards and the responses received from them show what a positive and profound impact this support has had to help them through this challenging year.”