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A team of unemployed young people have been digging in to help renovate the outdoor space for one of their local schools.

The group, who are taking part in The Prince’s Trust Bishop Auckland Team, rolled up their sleeves to help transform a forest area, adding a new pond, fencing and revamped walkways.

Tom Cuthbertson, headteacher at Cockton Hill Infant School, in Bishop Auckland, said: “The Prince’s Trust team worked so hard, in some really warm conditions, to give our forest area some much needed TLC.

“Our students now have access to an amazing outdoor forest school experience, and we can’t wait to see them enjoy it!”

The Prince’s Trust Team programme is a 12-week personal development course that offers those aged 16 to 25 the chance to build self-confidence, leadership, teamwork and employability skills, by taking part in a series of tasks and challenges.

The community project is an essential part of the programme, giving the young people a chance to give something back to their own community.

The team covered the cost of materials by organising a sponsored walk and they also received funding from the Key Fund, enabling them to buy Perspex for the fencing and specialist membrane and wood shavings to create walkways for the children to enjoy.

Describing why she chose to sign up to the programme, Summer, 24, said: “I was doing a master’s in occupational therapy when Covid-19 hit and the time at home made me rethink what career I wanted to do.”

On the course she carried out work experience in an art gallery, helping to give her a new direction. Now hoping to pursue her passion for art and history, she added: “The leadership skills and confidence I have gained on this course have helped me so much and it has given me direction for what I want to do as a future career.”

The Prince’s Trust Bishop Auckland Team is delivered by the Education Training Collective (Etc.), to find out more or get involved call the Bishop Auckland Team leader on 07553 367548. Etc. also delivers courses in Darlington, Catterick, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Stockton. Find out more about the Etc. Prince's Trust courses here.

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