A Norwich university student and designer has received the backing of a Norfolk television presenter as he launches a Kickstarter campaign to scale up production of his eyewear range.

Eastern Daily Press: George Bailey, 20, a UEA student founded Coral Eyewear which has been supported by Norfolk TV presenter Jake Humphrey. Picture: UEAGeorge Bailey, 20, a UEA student founded Coral Eyewear which has been supported by Norfolk TV presenter Jake Humphrey. Picture: UEA (Image: Archant)

George Bailey, who studies at the University of East Anglia (UEA), founded Coral Eyewear which makes designer glasses and sunglasses from recycled material, including fishing nets rescued from the ocean.

His green initiative has attracted the backing of Norfolk television presenter Jake Humphrey and has already raised nearly half of the campaign’s £10,000 target, with 28 days to go.

The 20-year-old, who is from Caterbury, said: “The support has been incredible and I’m so delighted that people believe in the impact that this idea can create. I think people are starting to see that creating a product with recycled materials doesn’t have to impact its quality.

“The pandemic has caused production delays, however I think it’s also provided a lot of people with time to think about lifestyles, consumption and the environment.”

Since launching at the start of this year, Mr Bailey has been approached by a number of retailers and independent opticians to stock his products which led him to launch the campaign to scale-up production.

More: See the latest trend in spectacles – created in Norfolk from fishing netsHis team includes his dad, who has more than 30 years experience in the eyewear industry, and two UEA students as interns.

The philosophy, politics and economics student has also been supported by the UEA through its Scale It award scheme and the launch of its year in enterprise scheme which will allow him to spend a year away from his degree to focus on the business.

Mr Bailey said: “I really believe they are the nation’s leading university when it comes to student enterprise.

“That level of support for young entrepreneurs is not found anywhere else.

“I’ve only been in Norwich for two years, but it is a beautiful city full of opportunity and a unique sense of community. Jake has offered us great feedback and advice over the past six months and his commitment to helping young people through his UEA scholarship scheme and charity work in Norwich is great.”

It is estimated 600,000 tonnes of fishing nets are abandoned in the world’s oceans every year taking up to 600 years to break down - with just one net entangling 30 to 40 marine animals a year.

Mr Humphrey said: “It’s unacceptable that almost all of the nine million of pairs of glasses and sunglasses sold in the UK every year use virgin plastic. Coral uses recycled fishing nets instead - it’s genius.

“People are becoming increasingly aware of how small steps in the right direction will help with climate change.

“Norfolk is packed with smart, driven, creative young people like George.

“I wasn’t particularly successful at school but many of the opportunities that have come my way have been a result of people investing in me as a person, taking a risk and believing in me. It is time to pay it forward.”

To find out more about the Kickstarter click here.

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