STUDENTS Bridge the Gap Between Education and the Community with a Renovation Project.Print Page
Eighteen Level 2 uniformed and public service students from Darlington College joined forces with environmentalists from Groundwork North-East and Cumbria to repaint a much-used bridge crossing the River Skerne.
Armed with brushes and sandpaper, they rubbed down the old flaking paint and rusty metalwork before applying new protective coatings to the South Park bridge.
The initiative was part of a national sustainable community project – the Rethink Parks Programme – which is funded by Heritage Lottery and the charity Nesta.
The scheme aims to link businesses and organisations to encourage them to give something back to the community. The project also fitted perfectly the community element of the Darlington College course.
Tutor Dec Donaghy said: “It is part of their curriculum but the students also said they wanted to do it and volunteered, which is great.”
For Russian student Rustan Utegenov, the project was an opportunity for him to show his appreciation of his new home.
The 19-year-old, of Merrybent, moved from St Petersburg to be educated in the UK and is studying at Darlington College with a view to joining the Coastguard.
“The course is excellent and I can’t wait to secure a job on the water,” he said. “It is great being part of something that will benefit the town.”
Nepalese students Roshan Rai, left, and Prajal Limbu, both 16, of Scotton, Catterick Garrison, who want to join the Royal Engineers, were also happy to be helping the community.
“It is a lovely park and the bridge is well used,” said Roshan. “I think we will all feel very proud of our efforts when it is completed.”
Media students captured the action on video and will present Groundwork NE and Cumbria with a DVD of the transformation.
Student Rebecca Parkinson, 17, of Darlington, said: “We were really lucky as the weather was beautiful which helped us with the filming. Even the wildlife was on our side and we got some great shots of the waterfowl observing the work.”
Lisa Locke, of Groundwork NE and Cumbria, added: “The video will form part of our evaluation and monitoring work and capture the impact the project has made. So the college has been a great help on two levels.”
For more information on our Public Uniformed Services courses, visit the subject area Public Uniformed Services