Tree donation offers the chance for skills to grow

Everyone knows that a brush with nature can do you the world of good.

Students at The Skills Academy are already feeling the benefits as they are mucking in to create a calming outdoor space for their fellow learners.

The plan is to create a small orchard at the college in Billingham, and a donation of sapling trees from their local Tesco store has enabled work to get underway.

“Being outdoors and surrounded by nature can offer so many benefits, both physically and mentally,” said foundation skills and creative lecturer, Chris.

“That is something we want to share with our students.  We want to raise their awareness of the environment around them and the impact they can have.”

Forming part of a horticulture module on the foundation skills, employability and Positive Pathways courses, the young people will get to, quite literally, see the fruits of their labour.

Their aim is to ultimately create a tranquil area for students to enjoy and also promote outdoor learning.

Planting the first of the trees, student Josh, 17, was clearly in his element.  “I love being outdoors so this is great for me.”

Ryan, 17, added: “It’s really good to be able to work outside and do something quite different.  This is the first practical project we have been able to do for a while.”

Also lending a hand were Tesco’s Billingham store team manager Danny Donichey and customer assistant Megan Beddard.  Not afraid to roll up their sleeves, Danny said: “At Tesco we do a lot of work in the community, often with care homes and local schools.  It is great when you get to see that what we do is really helping people and, in this case, educating them as well.”

Chris said: “We are so grateful to Tesco for getting behind the project and their generous donation.  This has the potential to make such a difference to our students.  It allows them to learn about growing your own and the natural world that’s all around us. 

“Lockdown has been hard for young people, so it’s nice to be able to see our students getting outdoors and being active. It is really beneficial for them.”

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