Building firm's marketing suite becomes a classroom for Wigan construction students

Construction students got hands-on building their brand new learning space thanks to a new partnership between an education charity and a North West homebuilder.
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Northstone donated the Huddle - a striking, wood-clad space previously used as a marketing suite at its Silkash community in Bolton – to Wigan-based Apple Cast.

Once dismantled, it was transported to its long-term home, where learners got to help re-build it on site, creating their new, unique classroom. Timelapse footage shows the progress of it taking shape at the charity off Cobbs Brow Lane in Newburgh.

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The new classroom takes shapeThe new classroom takes shape
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The donation was indicative of Northstone’s commitment to sustainability, finding new uses for their temporary buildings and having a positive impact on the communities where it works.

It was supported by raft of North West companies who also gave up their time and expertise for free to make the move happen. T

hey included NJL (who provided planning services), Wyder Timber (who built the Huddle originally and donated labour), and David Bratt & Sons Haulage and Sutton Crane Hire (who helped transport the space to its forever home).

Berni Barry, senior development manager at Northstone, said: “The Huddle looks incredible in its new home. We’re so proud it’ll be put to good use as learning space for young people getting into construction, an inspiring space that they themselves have helped kit out.

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"The life-changing work Apple Cast does to provide education, training and support to give young people a successful future is so important - one we’re pleased to support with both the Huddle space and our ongoing partnership.

“At a time of soaring costs and inflation we all need to do our bit to support good causes, and for us at Northstone this support goes hand in hand with our focus on sustainable development, re-using and repurposing materials and making lasting links with the community.”

Northstone is currently delivering communities in Wigan and Bolton, including delivering 268 sustainable two, three and four-bedroom homes at Tulach – Wigan’s new community off Smithy Brook Road, Pemberton.

Alongside donating the Huddle, the homebuilder has also donated its waste timber from development sites across Greater Manchester to help Apple Cast’s learners practice and develop their carpentry skills.

Many of their creations head back to the development – with bird houses and benches made from the wood being installed at the community. Others are sold in the Apple Cast garden centre’s shop.

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The charity is an inspiring success story, with 200 young people and adults benefitting from its programmes over the last year. It provides alternative education, including supporting young people into careers in property and construction.

The Huddle will now take pride of place and serve as a classroom space enhancing young people’s education in construction skills.

After transforming Apple Cast from a small charity providing fishing days with an aim of diverting young people away from anti-social behaviour, founder and chief executive Neil Farnworth is now looking to expand its services to provide post-school provision for 16 to 18-year-olds.

He said: “The Huddle will take our ability to develop young people’s skills as part of our training programmes to the next level and is a brilliant upgrade on our existing facilities. Thanks to our partnership with Northstone our students have gained real, hands-on experience rebuilding and repurposing the Huddle and now it will serve as a transformational learning space.

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“We’d like to thank all the organisations involved, giving their time and expertise to make the vision a reality.

"Over the years, we’ve gone from strength to strength, providing an alternative route into rewarding careers. Inspiring spaces like the Huddle will ensure we can continue to change lives and expand our offer even further.”

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