A group of students from New College Durham recently spent a week sanding, filling, priming and painting the living/dining room in the youth centre under the watchful eye of lecturer Carl Weaver and technician Iain McCartney.

Although the walls have been painted in the last few years, it’s the first time the ceiling has seen attention for many a year.

Between them, ten students studying levels one, two and three NVQ qualifications in painting and decorating shared the job, getting valuable hands-on experience as they worked.

Their last job was at Beamish museum, which they said was more straightforward as they were working on newly fitted surfaces. The youth centre, they told us, was much more of a challenge!

Whatever the difficulty, they’ve done a terrific job, and we look forward to seeing them back at Minsteracres soon when they will fit the window frames that another group of students have made to replace the ageing ones in the bathrooms.

“The joinery students have made the windows to size and will be back soon to fit them into place. It’s another chance for the students to get real-life experience,” says Carl.

The students made new friends while they were here. Some of the hens noticed that they were stopping to eat their sandwiches at lunchtime and appeared as if by magic each day around noon.