A novel idea for a social enterprise

By published 24 January, 2014 No Comments

A student involved in a new Teesside based social enterprise has spoken of the venture’s early success and its ambitious plans for the future.


Jake Parkins – Fahrenheit Books

Fahrenheit Books is based in Middlesbrough’s Forbes Buildings on Linthorpe Road and has proved popular since the shop opened last November.

Jake Parkins, who is studying for A levels in History, Philosophy & Ethics and Politics as well as a GCSE in Latin at Guisborough’s Prior Pursglove College, is one of the volunteers behind the social venture.

18 year old Jake, who lives in Middlesbrough, said, “The bookshop is a cooperative social experiment and is operated entirely by a group of keen volunteers, with no single person in charge. This means that the whole team is working democratically so I am interested to see how the system works.

“The main reason for the idea was so students, lecturers and the public have access to reasonably priced academic books. As a student myself I understand how costly it can be to purchase all the textbooks I need.

“We obtained the stock from charities, house clearances and donations. Local libraries and universities were also kind enough to give us any unwanted books. Some of the books are quite old so we have our hands on some rare works.”

In the bookshop’s first week of trading the business made £230 and had almost 3,000 books in stock. Jake also brought the business to Guisborough with a pop-up shop during Global Entrepreneurship Week at Prior Pursglove College which proved popular with cash strapped students looking to get a hold of textbooks and academic reading. Jake is the Vice President of the Students’ Union at the college.

The shop is named after the novel Fahrenheit 451 written by Ray Bradbury. Explaining the reasons for this Jake said, “We didn’t want your average run of the mill name for the shop and in a way we chose the link to Ray Bradbury’s book because, comparatively speaking, 451 Fahrenheit is the temperature at which paper burns and in his novel the use of books is outlawed and they are destroyed. This, coupled with the fact that book stores are on a rapid decline was the reasoning for the satirical name.”

Even with the business in its early stages the volunteers already have big plans for the future. “If the business continues to go well we would look at moving into bigger premises and make the service more widely available, with more social space and resources,” continued ex Acklam Grange School pupil Jake, “If we inspire anyone to create a similar cooperative venture then that would be brilliant.”

18 year olds Jordan Blyth and Mark Chadburn, two former students of Prior Pursglove College, are also involved in the Fahrenheit Books project.

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