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Students flex green fingers for National Colleges Week

Gateshead College students are breaking barriers between young and old people in an innovative gardening project for National Colleges Week.

Seventeen students on the Skills and Work course, for young adults aged 18 years and older who have learning difficulties and disabilities, are helping residents tackle jobs ranging from weeding to creating flower borders. Working on a voluntary basis, the young learners are helping to maintain dozens of gardens at the Katergina Housing in Birtley.

National Colleges Week, which runs from 9 to 15 November, celebrates the opportunities colleges offer individuals, businesses and local communities. Volunteering is a crucial part of the Skills and Work course, and participants have to complete a project book, detailing new skills gained and benefits to the local community.

“The college lies at the heart of the community and is a valuable resource for local people and groups,” says Skills and Work course leader Tracey Wallace.

“Projects like the Katergina garden tidy enable our students to show their support for the community and give back in a positive and meaningful way.”

Birtley Councillor Kathy King adds: “It’s great to see these young people getting out and about and becoming involved and making a positive contribution.

“It’s clear that those living in the sheltered accommodation really value the new gardens and enjoy chatting and laughing with the students.”

(Pictured: Tracey Wallace (centre-left) with Skills and Work course students tidying up gardens at Katergina Housing)

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