Fifteen aspiring future business leaders from across the UK took part in an ‘Apprentice-style’ challenge at Leicester Market on 1st February, as part of Dunelm’s Graduate Leadership Assessment Centre, and all the money they made was donated to support the work of Home-Start.

The candidates started their day at 4.30am and were given a set budget to spend with Total Produce, based at Leicester’s Wholesale Fruit Market and The Flower Company in Freemans Common. The candidates then made their way over to Leicester Market and started trading at 7.30am on four market stalls.

Throughout the day the four teams raised a total of £1,121 in profit, all of which will go to Home-Start UK, which has been chosen as Dunelm UK’s charity partner.

Matthew Hann, external communications manager at Home-Start UK said: “It has been fantastic to be part of this project, and we are thrilled that the teams have raised £1,121 to support our life-changing work with families. We are so proud to have been chosen by Dunelm as their official charity and it is so exciting to see all the different ways they are raising money for our work. This event was extra special because it happened in Leicester, the place where both Home-Start and Dunelm started.”

Like Home-Start, Dunelm started in Leicester. Founder, Bill Adderley, began selling ready-made curtains on a stall in Leicester Market. The first Dunelm shop was opened in Leicester in 1984 and over the following years the business developed into a successful chain of high street shops.

22-year-old Sheffield Hallam final year student, Shane Greenstock, was part of the winning team Fruits to Go and said “Today we've been selling fruit and veg on a Leicester Market stall - going back to Dunelm's original roots. I've worked at my local Dunelm store in Cambridge for the past 4 years whilst I've been studying, and I applied for their graduate programme last year. We had a tough screening day yesterday and today we've been doing something completely different - selling as much produce as we can to make as much money as we can for Home-Start."

21-year-old candidate, Georgie Seel from Nottingham Trent University, said of the day “It’s been so interesting to go back to where Dunelm first started at Leicester Market. We've been selling fruit and veg since 7am to raise money for Home-Start which is such a great charity - hopefully we can raise a lot of money for them.”