Residents at a County Durham care home received an early Christmas present with a makeover from dedicated painting and decorating students.

West Lodge Care Home in Crook has a newly decorated lounge, dining room and corridors thanks to the talented team of five from Bishop Auckland College, working with Trades4Care.

The innovative Community Interest Company gives young people valuable work experience, as part of a wider holistic life skills and employability programme, by pairing them with qualified tradespersons to work on maintenance projects at healthcare, education and community venues.

Kate Lyons, General Manager of West Lodge Care Home, was delighted with the new look. She said: “We've had a brilliant two weeks here at West Lodge thanks to Trades4Care and the local young people who have transformed one of our resident lounges, dining room and corridors.

“They have really done a fantastic job and the standard of work has been first class. Hats off to the students, who have left a lasting impression. The residents have loved having them and they even received a spontaneous round of applause when they had completed the work. We can't thank you enough.”

The care home makeover is the latest success story for Trades4Care, following earlier pilot projects at Butterwick Hospice and Stainton Village Hall, and was supported by Gaunless Gateway Big Local Partnership.

Services offered also include home maintenance, gardening, and domestic cleaning including carpets, upholstery and hard floors, with plans to add plumbing, electrical, joinery and refuse removal next year.

The programme is being managed by co-founders and directors of Trades4Care Andrew Coxon and Charlie Wright, supported by trade colleague and trusted partner Nigel Stevens.

Andrew said: “It’s clear that we are helping the community and the feedback and interest we have received over the past few months from local community and care projects, colleges and organisations has been really positive and is gaining momentum.

“The grant from the Gaunless Gateway Big Local will be used alongside the financial and programme commitment made from Bishop Auckland College and wider interest from other colleges and organisations to deliver further programmes for local young people over the coming months.”

Michelle Andelin, Learning Area Manager for Construction and Motor Vehicle at Bishop Auckland College, added: ‘‘Trades4Care not only gives our learners first-hand experience in a working environment, but also a valuable programme in which they develop their communication, team building and employability skills.

“Every one of our learners who has taken part in the initial projects has had a fantastic time. We can’t thank Trades4Care enough for this wonderful opportunity and are looking forward to other joint projects next year.”

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