Academy gets improved nature area thanks to locals enrolled on an employment course

Last week (8 September 2021) saw the completion of the works at Chalk Hills Academy by a group of seven local people who were taking part in a course to help them gain work experience and qualifications.

The group were enrolled on employment and skills course, Green Skills, run by community charity Groundwork East thanks to funding from DWP.

The team have enhanced the school’s nature area by improving access to a pond so the pupils can enjoy the space more easily. They have also helped to link the pond to an existing vegetable growing area by creating a new entrance and clearing and defining the existing path. The area has been further boosted by some simple seating and planting around the pond edges. The area can now be reached safely by students and there is space for them to enjoy the new features.

All have been trained in safe use of power tools, basic carpentry and landscaping skills in addition to receiving mentoring towards improving their job prospects.

The design for the area and access was completed by one of Groundwork’s Landscape Architects as part of the Services to Schools programme, thanks to funding from the John Laing Charitable Trust.

Three of the graduates form the course will progress onto a longer employment and skills course, Green Team, starting this month.

Matt Sutcliffe, Senior Project Tutor for Groundwork, said “It’s wonderful to see projects like these develop. The team learn practical skills that will help them to get back into work, whilst creating something meaningful that will benefit pupils for years to come. It really gives the group a sense of accomplishment, and provides a fantastic example of what they can achieve to future employers.”

One of the school’s pupils “It looks really good, it makes it easier to walk around. It makes you feel really calm and happy.”