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Posted: 06/08/21

Carpentry students build shed for community volunteer project

Carpentry students at West Nottinghamshire College have put their skills into action, helping build and install a shed in aid of a local community volunteer project.

Joinery students, tutors and the work placement team created a shed for Ashfield Voluntary Action's allotment, aided by funding from Mansfield Building Society.

The 10ft x 6ft shed, with a 2ft covered veranda, was created by Level 2 Bench Joinery students Louis Durcan, Lewis Williamson and William Walker, and Level 2 Site Joinery student Stuart Spencer, on behalf of Ashfield Voluntary Action (AVA) as part of a work placement project.

Funded by a £1,176 donation to AVA from Mansfield Building Society’s Community Support Scheme, it will provide much-needed seating and shelter for users of its Harcourt Street allotments in Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

The students spent one week building the shed from scratch with materials provided by AVA using the donation from the building society, gaining vital skills training and work experience while boosting a local cause.

They built it in a flat-pack style at the college’s construction centre in Kirkby with the support of carpentry and joinery tutor Reece Pridmore. William and Stuart then spent a day erecting the structure on-site at the allotments, supported by wood occupations tutor Mark Porter, work placement engagement officer Gemma Burke and a local company that donated site time.

Gemma said: “Supporting this project had a real community feel, with all parties involved helping and giving something back while giving our students a chance to show off their skills both on-site and within the workshop.

“This project had been months in the planning and involved lots of hard work. There were lots of prices changes with the cost of timber rising and a delay in construction due to Covid. However, the team overcame all the challenges and managed to complete the project. The shed was delivered and the customer is over the moon.”

William, 18, who is returning to college in September to study Level 3 Bench Joinery, said: “It was a really good experience. It was nice to see what we’d achieved in a small amount of time and how efficiently we’d done it.

“I felt quite proud of what we’d produced and really grateful to the staff that helped us as well.

“Doing this gave us proper work experience. It was a mix of site and bench work and gives you skills such as estimating, scheduling and time-management, along with the practical skills you learn at college.

“It’s good to get involved in this type of project because it gives you more confidence, knowing you can do the work to a good standard.

“I loved every part of it and it was brilliant to do something for the community as well.”

Vickie Preston, of Mansfield Building Society, said: “It’s fantastic to be part of this collaboration. As an employer we support local organisations with volunteering hours allocated to all staff – so a project that brings the volunteering sector together with students who will be our next generation of skilled construction workers is something we didn’t hesitate to fund.”

Sylvia Porter, Step by Step co-ordinator of AVA – which provides support to other voluntary sector groups and also supports individuals and families through a range of projects – added: “Thanks to the very generous donation from the Mansfield Building Society, we were not only able to provide shelter and secure storage for allotment users, we were also able to provide hands-on training to construction students.”