The donation of construction materials to a Peterlee school will help students build skills while rescuing a vital campus cabin.
Dene Academy runs construction classes, offering hands on learning experiences to students that help to hone useful techniques while engaging young people with the wider school curriculum.
The donation of 2,000 bricks by Durham Villages Regeneration Company (DVRC) – the partnership between Durham County Council and Keepmoat Homes – will support these sessions. The provision of additional materials will allow repairs to be made to a portable cabin, integral to a range of educational opportunities provided at the academy.
Geoff Scott, Social and Economic Impact Manager with Keepmoat Homes, said: “I am delighted that the donation of these materials will have such a far-reaching effect and offer so many students the opportunity to learn new skills. It is important for us to engage with and support local communities in the areas where we build new homes.”
Pupils at the school have been watching the construction of homes at DVRC’s nearby Woodland Mews development – one of 32 sites which has helped deliver over 2000 homes, investing £240m in Durham communities since the partnership’s formation in 2001.
Around a quarter of these properties have been available for affordable rent through local housing associations and with those sold attracting an average price of around £105,000, DVRC has consistently delivered homes within the reach of local people. Over 80% of them so far sold have been bought by those living within 10 miles of the development and around 60% were first time buyers.
Carolann McKay, Assistant Headteacher at Dene Academy, said: “The cabin is essential to a separate school garden project that we run with some of our younger children and also provides a base for our student’s Duke of Edinburgh Awards equipment.
“The donation is really appreciated as it will allow us to offer construction classes to more students and to engage them in a new project – reviving the cabin alongside skilled professionals. Once repaired, we plan to hand over to our art department and a local artist, to decorate the cabin with our students, providing yet another great learning opportunity.
“Projects like this not only engage the students in school, but help with their personal development enhancing teamwork, leadership, planning, ownership and communication skills – which all build confidence.”
Header image: Geoff Scott and Assistant Head Carolann McKay. Students are front l-r Jack Bell, Kallum Crombie, Alex Mclean and Chrissy Pearson. Back l-r Jack Jopling and Thomas Foley.