Sunderland students are putting their creative skills to use, to brighten up a Lake District residential educational centre, enjoyed by young people from right across the city.
Seven students, who are all studying vocational subjects including plastering, bricklaying and joinery at our Hylton campus, have picked up their paint brushes and tools to tidy up the facilities at Derwent Hill, a complex used by schools across Sunderland for educational trips and teambuilding exercises.
The students are making improvements to the store rooms at the centre, refitting lockers and benches, as well as plastering and painting the walls, ahead of the arrival of scores of school children who visit the centre seeking adventure.
For half a century Derwent Hill, in Keswick, has been an outdoor education centre for Sunderland schoolchildren, offering a place for young people to undertake activities including gorge walking, canoing, rock climbing, kayaking and exploring the rural surroundings.
Christopher Smith, an enrichment co-ordinator, said he was pleased that the students had been given the opportunity to gain practical experience at the centre, which has provided many of the young people at the college with some great memories.
He said: “The group of students undertaking developments at Derwent Hill are working on a voluntary basis and are all in the process of completing vocational qualifications, so it is a great opportunity for them to put their skills to good use. We’re always keen – whether it’s our vocational, A-Level or higher education students – to give them real-life hands-on experience, so this is one way of doing that, while delivering benefits for people across the city.
“They have some wonderful memories from their trip to the centre when they were in school, so they are delighted to get the chance to go back. The college has committed to doing work at Derwent Hill every year to make sure the facilities are freshened up, ahead of the annual trips school children across the city make to enjoy the activities on offer.
“We have some activities planned, so we will down tools for some outdoor fun while we are there. It is great to be able to freshen up the facilities at a place that has benefitted so many young people from Sunderland over the years.”
Each year around 4,000 children and adults visit Derwent Hill, a nineteenth century mansion set in 28 acres of land, which is owned and run by Sunderland City Council.
Nathan Williams, 18, from Ford Estate, Sunderland said “I went to Derwent Hill in primary school so this will be a great chance to give something back to an outdoor centre that is very much part of Sunderland’s heritage and a great opportunity to work off site for five days.”