Chesterfield College students help transform DVA’s new community hub

Students and staff from Chesterfield College’s painting and decorating department have used their skills to help transform a former betting shop into a welcoming community hub for Derbyshire Voluntary Action.

When Derbyshire Voluntary Action were given the opportunity to turn empty premises in Chesterfield town centre into a safe space for people to connect with each other and the community, they needed help to give it a new lease of life.  Therefore, they approached Chesterfield College to ask if students would like to get involved to help create the space that will eventually be somewhere they might benefit from.

Vital work experience

The students spent the week working under the watchful eye of their industry expert tutors. They prepared the space, painted and cleaned the area ready for the next phase of the refurbishment.

Explaining why she had enjoyed working on the project, painting and decorating student, Naomi Taylor said:

“I have had some experience of working on painting and decorating projects at home before. Working in a place like this is different. It gives us really good practice at the type of jobs we could be working on in the future and everything that you need to do. I really like doing something practical like this.”

Terry Brickles, Curriculum Operations Manager for construction at Chesterfield College said:

“This project has come at a perfect time for the students who are near the end of their course. They have been able to take what they have learnt in a classroom and apply it in a real-life situation. They develop vital skills which will help them as they move on with their studies and into employment. Importantly, they also have a sense of pride in being able to part of something that will benefit the community.”

Making a difference to the community

During the week, Staff and young people from Fairplay, a charity who are looking forward to using the hub when it is open, thanked the students for their hard work. They baked cakes for the decorating team which gave them a welcome energy boost as they worked!

Jacqui Willis, Derbyshire Voluntary Action’s Chief Executive Officer said:

“It is absolutely crucial we get young people involved right from the beginning of this project. We are so pleased the students have been part of making this space. They have all worked really hard and the college has gone above and beyond to help us get the hub ready. We have plans to make sure their involvement doesn’t stop here. There are so many opportunities for volunteering and to provide services to help us deliver our vision for this space.”

With the decorating job finished, Derbyshire Voluntary Action will now complete the refurbishment. Soon the space will become a front door for people to find out about the services that are available in the community and how to connect with them. It will also be a place to host creative activities, performances and workshops which will encourage people to re-engage with community life as the Covid restrictions of the last year are eased.

Article taken from Chesterfield College website