Henknowle Community Centre in Bishop Auckland has recently undergone a makeover thanks to a scheme that is giving students real workplace experience.

Following recent improvement works to replace the outdated lighting and various other repairs inside the community centre, most of the public rooms have completely been redecorated.  The makeover was completed through Trades4Care, a scheme that offers care facilities and community buildings an opportunity for a spruce up while also offering training to college students.

Andrew Coxon, Co-Founder and Director of Trades4Care said; “Following a successful pilot scheme and having successfully attracted £7,000 funding from the Gaunless Gateway Big Local Partnership we had an expression of interest from Henknowle to help them redecorate their community centre.  The grant from the Gaunless Gateway Big Local will be used alongside the financial and programme commitment made from Bishop Auckland College to deliver further programmes for local young people over the coming months. We also thank the college for their time, trust and support’’.

The outcomes prove to be extremely valuable for everyone involved; the client, the college, learning support workers, the young person, the local community, the handpicked trades and the Trades4Care Project founders.

Lee Brownson added; ‘’The quality of the job they’ve all done in the community centre is excellent and the impact and change in the young people was clearly visible day by day.  I was very impressed at the impact this programme had especially on the young people.’’

Charlie Wright the Co-founder said; ‘’Everyone involved is very excited not just the opportunity but the unique outcomes the programme brings for individuals, organisations and the local community. Working relationships and partnerships have progressed across the care and education sectors locally and the many local community initiatives with the current P&D Project.”

Trades4Care Project approach has also received positive feedback from other local organisations with similar social aims and values.

Tracy Dunning, Bishop Auckland Learning Support Officer, said; ‘‘One of our learners has physical disabilities and I spent the week with three of my learners working with the Trades4Care Project team. After returning to college he has gained more confidence in his work in all of his lessons not only in the workshop. He now works better in the classroom which was a more challenging part of his college day, also bringing a new confidence into the workshop, taking more pride in his work’’.

Tracy continues; ‘‘From my personal experience, I found the week with Trades4Care Project not only beneficial for my learners but beneficial for me. It taught me different aspects of being onsite which has allowed me to take into the workshop when spending time with learners, discussing what would happen if we were onsite and how we would work there as well as how we could bring those lessons into our workshop. The two other learners have also enjoyed their experience as they were very unsure of their own abilities’.

Head of School at Bishop Auckland College, Michelle Andelin, who has responsibility for Construction and Employability within her remit added; ‘‘I would recommend the Trades4Care Project, the team not only provides a great learning experience but helps them recognise that by helping our local communities we become more considerate to those who need our support. The college is very committed and excited to be part of this venture with Trades4Care Project working within the local community.

The experience allows our learners not only first-hand experience in a working environment, but a valuable bespoke programme in which they develop their communication, team building and employability skills. From induction through to the evaluation exercise every one of our learners taking part during the last academic year and the current one has had a fantastic time.  We can’t thank Trades4Care enough for this wonderful opportunity and are looking forward to other projects later in the year.’’

One learner commented; ‘’I would recommend this programme to my friends and fellow students because it gives you very good preparation for the work placement and improves your skills and experience in a very short time.’’

Every learner attending the programme has commented on the positivity and strong value and growth the programme brings and has committed to further work placements and 1-1 support work already in place and identified.

The Trades4Care Project is a new exciting innovative Community Interest Company based in County Durham offering a unique holistic approach and programme, delivering person focussed support, practical skills development, social and life skills growth and employment preparation coaching for young people who find themselves at a crossroads, real or perceived disadvantage. A company with real social values at its heart.

If anyone wishes to discuss the Trades4Care programme or opportunities further contact Andrew Coxon on 07725 113352



TOP (L-R) Charlie Wright, Andrew Coxon, Andrew Sowerby, Lee Brownson, Tracy Dunning, Josh Roberts, Michelle Andelin and Nigel Stevens.

BOTTOM (L-R) Jack Gullidge, David Ross, Megan Cowan and Adam McCann.