What do Beamish museum, Winlaton rugby club and Minsteracres have in common? They have all received a makeover at the hands of students from New College Durham.

In the case of Minsteracres, tutor Iain MCartney is back with a group of first and second year students learning the finer points of painting and decorating, and it seems the youth centre is offering a lot of practice.

“They’ve come across all sorts of things they learn about which is good because we teach them how to correct the defects. There’s more to decorating than you might think,” he explains, “they’re learning how to get out of situations and picking up tips that’ll help them in the future.”

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Carriane Bird, a first year student at the college explains how to deal with cracks (built  during the second world war to house fire brigade students, the building has its share of those!), “You have to open the crack up a bit first to see how deep it is, then rub it down, make the filler and apply it.”

Adi Millichap is in his second year of the course. “I had a background in art and know my way round a brush,” he says. He has been using the knowledge he’s picked up to do work for a friend of his mum’s and is obviously enjoying the course. “I like it – and the teachers are canny.”

With only three days available, they are confining themselves this time to sorting out the dormitory walls, but they’ll be back. Like the Forth Bridge, it’s a never ending task!