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How far can a single yellow paperclip get you?

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HOW far can a single yellow paperclip get you, all without leaving Jersey?

Wendy Freeman Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (28791007)

That’s what one bored Jersey teenager is hoping to find out after launching an online swap project that is already capturing imaginations across the Island.

Caitlin Le Couteur (16) launched the Jersey Trading Project earlier this week and within hours of asking online if anyone would like to swap something for her paperclip she had arranged not only her first trade but multiple others from there on.

The Hautlieu student, who is due to start at Highlands College in September on a Level 3 health and social care course, arranged to swap the single paperclip for a lightfitting. That was then being swapped for a bookshelf, and the bookshelf for a vacuum cleaner.

Caitlin said she had been inspired to begin the project after hearing about a Canadian blogger, Kyle MacDonald, who bartered his way from a single red paperclip to a house in a series of trades in 2005.

And although she is not expecting a house at the end of it, Caitlin says she may be tempted to bring her challenge to a close if she finds something useful for herself and her family.

‘My rules are no cash, no one can give me any money for any items, it is completely swaps, and it is going to stay in the Island,’ said the teenager from St Lawrence. I just thought it would be a little bit of fun until September.’

Caitlin will be carrying all of her swaps out under social distancing measures and is sanitising all goods before she passes them on. She is one of hundreds of Year 11 students in Jersey who had their time in compulsory education brought to an abrupt end in March when schools were closed and GCSE exams cancelled amid the pandemic.

And she said it had been a tough experience which left her wanting to do something fun over the summer holidays.

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‘It has been extremely hard to find the motivation to do anything really,’ she said. ‘It just feels like everything you have done in your school life has been wasted because you have done all of this only to be told you are not going to sit your exams.

‘It is also hard to have no prom, no leavers’ assembly, no real acknowledgement that we even went to school. I would definitely have chosen to do exams compared to this.’

She added: ‘I don’t really have any aim with this project, it is just to see how far I can get with it. If I end up with something that is useful to me and my family I might leave it there, or I might carry on.’

To follow her progress visit the Instagram page Jersey Trading Project.

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
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