31st May 2019

South Devon College are not only becoming more involved in the community than ever before, but they are now improving it too. Construction Apprentices have taken the College’s community spirit to the next level and have conducted renovation works on the shelters along the seafront.

The well-recognised Victorian shelters that run along Paignton seafront have seen much better days and needed a lot of repairs to keep them standing. That is until now. Led by Jonny Standing, Programme Coordinator in Woodwork, the first year carpentry apprentices have been out renovating these shelters and have been working hard to renovate these shelters and restore them to their former glory. This has been a collective effort across the Construction department at the College with students from Painting and Decorating and Roofing courses also working hard on the renovations.

Jonny Standing, Programme Coordinator in Woodwork, talking to BBC Spotlight about the renovation plans.

The way this started was with an application for a £50,000 grant, submitted by the Torbay Community Partnership, to obtain the funding to stop the shelters being removed. The Government Coastal Revival Fund approved the application and then South Devon College were approached to take on the task.

Repairs have been carried out to try and keep as much of the original materials safely in place. But for where extra was needed to get the job done, the community have pulled together to make this possible and support our students; with donations of K-Glass for the windows, roofing supplies from Supa Roofing & Power Tools Ltd, building supplies from Inter-Line Building Supplies Ltd, Torbay Council and hotels providing free parking, Bays Brewery Ltd offering free drinks, and an individual even donated a chopsaw who goes by the name ‘Dave’.

Adrian Brady, Depot Manager at Inter-Line, got in touch to talk about the interactions they’ve had with the College over the course of this project. “We have been dealing closely with Colin from Paignton Town & Community Projects and Jonny Standing from South Devon College and supplying the materials requested. I think it is a very innovative approach and gives the students an insight as to what they would be doing when they get out to work in the big wide world. Interline have a very close relationship with South Devon College and it is important to that we supply a service to the College. Interline support all the Open Days and have recently donated t-shirts for the team there. We also support work experience here at Inter-Line so students can learn about the supply side of the industry and the different materials used on a day to day basis.”

Jonny Standing who is leading the work on-site said “All of the students are working excellently on this as a team. What’s great is that everyone has taken to this opportunity with a genuine desire to make a good change in the community and do some real-world practical work that supports their studies. All of this work we are doing links into their unit on maintenance in their courses and follows the curriculum already in place, with all of this work being valid evidence for their assessments throughout their studies. I couldn’t be more proud of the way the students have worked and conducted themselves with this project and are true assets to the College.”

The impact the students are making and the level of quality they are working at is impressive. There’s no better experience for them to work on a project that is making a real difference to people in the community and inspiring others to collaborate more and make a positive change.

The team aim to have all of the six shelters renovated by the end of June this year. This means that this Summer, families will be able to enjoy the new shelters when the sun gets a bit too much or you need to perch somewhere to enjoy a Mr Whippy.

Well done to everyone involved. You’re doing a great service to your local community and that community appreciates everything you’re doing.

For more information about this story, email [email protected] or call 08000 380 123.

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