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Students from Hillsborough College have scooped the top prize in a competition to design an idea for an overlooked space in their local community.

They won £1,000 in resources for the college in the Forgotten Spaces Schools Competition, run by Sheffield Hallam University and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Yorkshire.

Their design for a walled community allotment in Firth Park was praised by competition judges for its “beautiful” presentation and simple, well thought-out idea.

One of the judges was Chris Paterson, winner of Forgotten Spaces 2011: Sheffield, who said: "I'd love to see something like this built."

The schools competition follows on from Forgotten Spaces 2011: Sheffield, which encouraged architects, designers and artists to come up with innovative ideas that found new uses for the region's forgotten spaces.

Second prize of £750 in resources went to a group from Thomas Rotherham College for their "ambitious" idea for a disused pub building next to their College grounds.

And, showing that Forgotten Spaces has captured imaginations all over Yorkshire, third prize went to two students from the Grimsby Institute. The pair won £500 in resources for an idea for a community theatre in the grounds of their college, which judges called "architectural and considered".

All schools who registered for the competition were given the chance to take part in a workshop led by Sheffield Hallam architecture academics and students. The workshop enabled them to discuss their ideas for the competition and receive quality advice on how to express and develop their design proposals.

Pupils from Thomas Rotherham

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Hillsborough College student Joe Bartley, who came up with the concept for the design, said: "It's great to win because the whole team put in such a lot of effort. We all worked on the different parts of the design. I'm hoping to do interior design in the future and this project will look really good in my portfolio."

Head judge Norman Wienand, head of the department of architecture and planning at the University, said: "This competition has really captured the imagination of the children involved and I am sure we are looking at the work of the architects and planners of the future.

"It's great to be able to work with young people on ideas for their own communities and show them the processes involved in regenerating our cities. We hope to be able to run a similar competition again in the future."

The winning entries will be on display in the University's Cantor Building, alongside the shortlisted entries for the Forgotten Spaces 2011: Sheffield competition, until Friday 6 January.

For press information: contact Tess Humphrys in the University’s press office on 0114 225 4025 or email