Excited pupils from KTS Academy, the award-winning special school in Brotton, turned out to lend a hand when a team from the Prince’s Trust arrived to create a very special garden.
The 22-strong team, aged between 16 and 25 from Middlesbrough and Redcar, were on a 12-week Prince’s Trust Team Programme designed to help them into employment.
Alongside work experience and help with job application and interview skills, the teams also choose a special project that will help a local organisation or charity.
This latest group opted to fundraise, plan and create a garden for the 170 KTS pupils who are aged between four and 19.
UKSE, the Tata Steel subsidiary that supports businesses in steel areas, awarded the team £2,000 from its Community Support Fund towards the purchase of equipment, materials and plants.
UKSE is a long-standing supporter of the programme and has now backed more than 50 Teesside teams and their community projects with around £64,000.
The projects have helped the unemployed, disabled and people struggling with addiction and mental health issues with sports facilities, refurbishment projects and gardens.
Sarah Thorpe, UKSE’s area manager, said: “Our Community Support Fund operates alongside the range of investments and premises we offer to help businesses grow and is there to improve the lives of people living in our steel areas.
“Supporting these programmes means that we are helping community projects and our young people to gain the skills and experience that they and employers need.”
Brian Richardson, head teacher at KTS Academy, said: “We are immensely grateful to the Prince’s Trust Team, who came up with some great ideas and to UKSE for the funding.
“Our pupils thoroughly enjoy the type of outdoor education that this garden will help provide.
“We have been able to retain a woodland theme and now have access to a natural learning environment in an enclosed and safe space.
“Some of our older pupils will be responsible for the upkeep of the area, providing great work experience and a sense of achievement. We are hoping to include some joint sessions with pupils from our neighbouring primary school too.”
Craig Murphy, Prince’s Trust team leader at the Education Training Collective, added: “Our involvement with UKSE not only brings us valuable funding for these projects but also plays an important part in helping our students prepare for employment.
“The Dragons’ Den-style pitch that the team makes for the funds, held virtually through the Covid restrictions, helps with so many skills from planning, budgeting and teamwork to communications and making effective presentations.”