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Carpentry Students Join Youth Leadership Programme

Carpentry Level 1 students were treated to a tour of The Green Quarter in Southall as part of their 14-week leadership programme late last month. The programme, which is free to schools, colleges and community groups across London and the south of England, is funded by Berkeley Foundation, the charitable arm of leading construction company Berkeley Group. The programme was devised by Groundwork London, a charity at the forefront of environmental regeneration in the capital. Led by Berkeley Foundation’s senior team the WLC students toured the park-like grounds and gardens of the iconic new homes Berkeley has built in Southall.

Jags Sanghera from Berkeley talking to Peter Fleet of Groundwork London and students
Jags Sanghera from Berkeley talking to Peter Fleet of Groundwork London and students

The 14-week leadership programme, which began in February 2024, ends in May. So far the twelve carpentry students taking part have enjoyed a week-long residential trip to the beautiful Brecon Beacons in Wales, where they learned team building, leadership and outdoor skills to build resilience and confidence. Right now, the students are busy creating environmental social impact projects, which they pitched to the Berkeley team for feedback during their visit to The Green Quarter. In July, students will attend a leaders’ graduation ceremony to receive their certificates of achievement.

Peter Fleet, Youth Development Manager for Groundwork London, said: “This project has been a perfect fit for Southall Community College, which is situated very close to Berkeley’s The Green Quarter. The students are Carpentry learners, so they are finding out about sustainable building methods through Berkeley, and leadership and environmental skills through Groundwork London.”

“The leadership programme brings many other benefits to the students,” said Enda Mulloy, Deputy Head of Construction at Southall Community College. “Our students have gained confidence, employability skills, deepened their understanding of construction, and are making a real contribution to the local community through their social action projects.”

The social action projects the learners are working on include ideas for the building of greenhouses for residents of The Green Quarter to grow their own vegetables, and bird boxes, plant and veg pots for the apartment blocks’ balconies. The students are also looking at recycling initiatives.

Jags Sanghera explains the work Berkeley has done to clean up the Grand Union Canal which connects London to Birmingham and runs alongside The Green Quarter
Jags Sanghera explains the work Berkeley has done to clean up the Grand Union Canal which connects London to Birmingham and runs alongside The Green Quarter

Skye Graham, one of the Carpentry Level 1 students on the leadership programme, said: “I was fascinated to see how considerate they’ve been about the people who are going to live there. They’ve included relaxation spaces and made separate play areas for the older and younger children. They’ve even put blocks on the paths so that pedestrians and cyclists can use them safely.”

Classmate Daniel Ettienne said: “My favourite part was the canal, you can hear the birds singing, it’s a great place to chill. They’ve done so much work to clean the water and paths and make it a peaceful and relaxing place to be.”

Both Skye and Daniel are enjoying their leadership programme too. Skye said: “leading teams on the residential and giving instructions to motivate people, has given me more confidence to stand my own ground.” Daniel said the residential had taught him to be a better leader and team member: “I make sure I listen to everyone’s viewpoint and perspective and include their ideas as well.”

The Berkeley Foundation is the independent charitable foundation set up by the Berkeley Group. They have committed over £26 million to more than 100 charities and organisations that they partner with to help young people overcome barriers, improve their lives and build a fairer society. They work in close partnership with the Berkeley Group, and the company provides the majority of funding. Staff from across Berkeley do a fantastic job of raising money through fundraising events and Give As You Earn, as well as giving them access to a wide range of assets and opportunities, from staff volunteers, to work placements for the young people on the programmes.

Groundwork is a federation of charities mobilising practical community action on poverty and the environment across the UK. They’re passionate about creating a future where every neighbourhood is vibrant and green, every community is strong and able to shape its own destiny and no-one is held back by their background or circumstances.

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