Work experience students help out with refurbishment of Stainton Village Hall

A DALE village hall underwent a major makeover ahead of an important commemoration, thanks to a scheme that is giving students workplace experience.

Stainton Village Hall was completely redecorated last week, just in time for a service and afternoon tea to pay tribute to the village’s First World War fallen. The village counts the Queen’s uncle, Capt Fergus Bowes Lyon, among their heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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.

Trades4Care is the brainchild of Andrew Coxon who, through his knowledge of the care industry, realised that many care homes are short of cash and struggle to meet Care Quality Commission standards. He also realised that many colleges struggle to find work experience places for their students, and decided to solve both problems by bringing them together.

He said: “It is bridging a gap. This is a collaborative project working closely with local colleges and organisations to provide an enhanced journey of opportunity for our young people, including work placements, life skills, coaching and mentorship.”

The redecoration of Stainton Village Hall was one of two pilot projects undertaken by Trades4Care.

Michelle Andelin, from Bishop Auckland College, praised the scheme because of the difficulty in finding work experience placements for students who might otherwise be involved with project work at the college.

She said: “It is absolutely fantastic.”

Lucy McKindle, from Stainton Grove, was one of the five students helping out at the village hall. She said: “It has been amazing and a great opportunity.”

She chose to follow in her builder dad’s footsteps because she gets to use her love for art while doing redecorating work. Also satisfied was village hall member Jane Teasdale. She said: “I think it is brilliant for the students to have the opportunity to be in a proper work place. I am sure it is helping them.”

Mr Coxon added that the contractors benefited from having the students on board as well. He said: “Everybody benefits. The kids are learning things in the first two days they never learned in a year at college. The five students have saved about a day [of work for the contractors], which they feed back to the students through demonstrations, coaching and advice.”

For more information visit trades4care.co.uk.

Trades4Care Pilot – Butterwick Hospice at Bishop Auckland

29th Oct – 2nd Nov 20118

Following contact from Charlie I was asked if the Hospice would be interested in taking part in the Trades4Care pilot using students from Bishop Auckland College to carry out decorating work in the Hospice.

Following an environmental health inspection there had been areas identified in the large Hospice kitchen that needed decorating and repair work done urgently before the next inspection.

The areas identified were the kitchen ceiling (which was covered in stains following a leak the previous winter), the pantry ceiling (again following a leak this ceiling had many cracks and was in desperate need of repair and decorating) and the staff toilet which was attached to the kitchen (this was in a general worn and grubby condition).

I suggested these areas to Charlie and as they urgently needed to be completed and with the Hospice’s own maintenance team too busy to complete it, it seemed like the perfect project for the trades4care pilot.

Charlie, Andrew and the students visited the Hospice prior to the work being carried out, were able to identify to the students the area’s which required the work and gave them a chance to see the Hospice for themselves and the environment they would be working in for their placement.

In the lead-up to the pilot, Charlie kept in contact with me keeping me up to date with a definite start date for the project and any materials we might require for the job.

As the Butterwick Hospice is a charity, it is important that any work is done at the lowest costs possible. The Hospice relies on fundraising from the general public with only a small amount received by the NHS Commissioning groups to fund services, therefore seeking ways that work can be done with little costs (or for free!) is essential. When Charlie and Andrew contacted me about the project it seemed an ideal way to get work done at a lower cost but still at a high standard, but also a fantastic way for community groups to work together, the publicity for all involved, the students learning the skills they needed to complete their training and a perfect way for them to experience work in a setting where they would also need to be aware of the environment and their customer – ideal experience for a C.V!

Placements like this were also supporting the colleges that the students were attending, providing them with space and places to work, a mix of locations perfect for gaining the skills and knowledge in completing their training. I also feel it gives an excellent chance to gain ‘life skills’ working with a different mix of people in different settings, whilst also gaining confidence. I was also impressed with Charlie’s tutoring of the students during their placement, taking time to work through workbooks with them, not just focusing on the trade itself but important factors like Health and Safety, Fire risks, etc.

When the project commenced this was done at the set date and time and they kept within the time constraints of when they could and couldn’t be in certain areas due to service need. Work was

carried out professionally and with thought for the environment. The student who was with Charlie was polite and thoughtful towards staff and service users. They worked so hard that week, so much so, they were able to move onto other areas that were in desperate need for redecoration! The corridor adjoining the kitchen to the back door and a further 3 patient bathrooms were completed. (Not to mention all the other maintenance jobs they squeezed in too..!)

The Hospice staff all commented on how you didn’t realise they were there, working around us, not getting in the way and tidying up after them. They reported how good all the work was looking, and these compliments still continue weeks after!

The work was carried out to an excellent standard. We have areas we are now proud of and not embarrassed for the public & service users to be using. We loved having Andrew, Charlie and the students on site, they are chatty and friendly and I would recommend to any other care providers or services where there may be vulnerable adults or children using them, that these guys are the best.

I want to wish you all the best in theses first stages of Trades4 Care and I really hope I will be calling on you again in the very near future. Myself and the Estates manager for the Butterwick Hospice have been so impressed we have you now top of our list to contact when any work is going out to tender.

Again, another huge thank you and the very best of luck to Trades4Care.

Mrs Immogen Salt

Hospice Services Manager

Butterwick Hospice at Bishop Auckland


Testimonial from Stainton & Streatlam Village Hall

I have known Charlie Wright for approximately 5 years and during that time have developed a great respect for all aspects of the work he undertakes, his enthusiasm and the dedication he brings to the task. Charlie has proved reliable and diligent in equal measure and has always been keen to go the extra mile to complete work in a timely manner or to undertake work over and above that which he had initially been asked to do. More recently myself and other members of the Stainton Village Hall Committee have been delighted to welcome Charlie and his colleagues at Trades4Care in to the Village Hall where they undertook a week-long project which saw the interior of the Hall transformed from a rather tired appearance to a clean and fresh interior into which we are proud to welcome guests. Charlie together with his colleague Nigel and 3 college students undertook the work with professionalism and attention to detail and were able and keen to explain all aspects of the work and how it would be undertaken. Charlie was happy to offer advice where it was needed and to solve whatever problems arose. Charlie’s team included his colleague Nigel, three college students (Lucy, Sean and Arron) who acquitted themselves admirably. They proved to be not only well-mannered and enthusiastic but moreover were hardworking and displayed a desire to see the project through to completion. The Village Hall Committee are all of the view that Trades4Care have delivered to the village and excellent service undertaken with staff who we would be happy to welcome back in the future.

Amanda Pettitt

On behalf of Stainton & Streatlam Village Hall

Northern Echo Article November 2018

Immogen Salt
Hospice Services Manager Butterwick Hospice at Bishop Auckland
Firstly I would like to thank Connor for all his hard work whilst working within the Hospice for the week.
The work he carried out was done in a professional manner and to a high standard, he was incredibly considerate to the environment he was working in and polite and friendly to the staff, volunteers, visitors and service users in the Hospice.

We would gladly welcome Connor back to work here should the need arise and we all wanted to wish him well in his career.

Thank you again Connor for your hard work.


Jennifer Phillips
Cross College Work Placement Coordinator Bishop Auckland College
Can I just say a very big thank you for the outstanding support you have provided for the students on work placement!