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Picture of Sanctuary Bedworth under construction

Students from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) have helped to install the Sanctuary memorial, a public artwork designed by American artist David Best, that has been unveiled in Bedworth to honour everyone who has been affected by the pandemic.

The students were part of a scheme designed to provide them with the opportunity to work on a live construction project and gain valuable work experience while achieving a qualification as part of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme at the college’s Harrowbrook Campus.

The completed memorial is located at the Miner’s Welfare Park, Bedworth and is due to be ceremonially burned on Saturday 28 May 2022 at the culmination of a week of commemorations to those who lost their lives or their loved ones to COVID-19.

Christopher Somers, from Coventry, said, “I really enjoyed working on the project which helped me to gain the CSCS card that I need to work in the building industry. I helped with some carpentry and electrical work including wiring up the lanterns that illuminate the structure at night. The experience will help me move on to my next contract.”

Brandon Conroy from Bedworth said, “There was a lovely atmosphere on this project, it was so joyful, and it was great to be part of the Sanctuary experience. I have worked in warehousing before and gaining this qualification will help me to move forward with my next steps towards becoming an apprentice. As a result of this experience, I am interested in working in electrical installations.”

Earlier this year, carpentry student Taran Johal from Coventry was based at the workshops of the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon as part of a once-in-a-lifetime industry placement helping to build the memorial.

The Sanctuary project is designed to mark the recovery and regeneration of the whole community, with Bedworth having been chosen for its reputation as the ‘town that never forgets.’ The project is managed by charity Artichoke in association with Imagineer and is supported by Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council, Warwickshire County Council and the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Culture Recovery Fund.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive at NWSLC said, “This has been a fantastic opportunity for our students to work on a high-profile and impressive project that means so much to the local community and the nation. Our links with hundreds of organisations across the region enable the college to provide work experience, industry placements, and volunteering opportunities as well as matching candidates to apprenticeship vacancies.”    

Everyone is encouraged to visit the Sanctuary memorial to bring mementos and leave messages in the spirit of remembrance and hope.

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