A GROUP of students have given up their Easter break to give back to the community, and earn vital experience.

Painting and decorating students from Bishop Auckland College have given up their free time to help give Stanhope Community Hall a new look.

The hall had been in need of a fresh coat of paint, but the church struggled to find the time and the funding to facilitate it.

The hall has many uses including a food bank, toddlers’ group, and polling station.

The group of students work with Trades4care, a local Community Interest Company and have worked on many projects before including Raby Castle.

Andrew Coxon from Trade4Care CIC said: “The jobs we choose are the ones that will impact the community.

“We only planned to do two rooms of the hall, but we have been asked to paint the kitchen and utility as well.”

Colleague Charlie Wright said: “We have freshened it up and modernised it using Dulux Community RePaint scheme which is available for community projects.

“There’s no waste and the paint is environmentally friendly.”

Michelle Andelin Head of school at Bishop Auckland College said: “Work experience has continued throughout the pandemic, due to the nature of the work it is easy to social distance.

“Its much different to learning in a college, they are using what they have learnt and putting theory to practice."

“This is their Easter break, and they are coming in to do this, we had to pick from 20 who volunteered for the job."

The students picked to do the job included John Brown, Cameron Southworth, Luke Moore, Mason McMeekin, and Alex Pickering.

Mr Pickering said: “Giving up the break is worth it, to learn on the job and be involved with a project. It also benefits us for our college projects, now we’ve got a job like this under our belt.”

Mr McMeekin said: “We are very grateful for the experience and for the opportunity to learn on a job like this."

Mrs Southworth said: “During lockdown we were doing lessons online, now we get this hands on experience is vital for us, and it’s a chance for us to give back to the community.”

Sarah Haynes the church warden said: “Its been an absolute godsend for them to do this for us.

“Last March we were not able to get a Covid grant due to being a church, so we have appealed to local charities for help.

“Its been amazing to see the transformation and we will be able to open with a fresh new look.”