Charity Boat Race changes lives

A volunteer community project group that has changed people's lives is set to get bigger, after a recent charity Boat Race raised over �2500.

A volunteer community project group that has “changed people’s lives” is set to get bigger, after a recent charity Boat Race raised over �2500.

The Construction and Heritage Department at South Devon College has for the past 2 years been head of the “Construction in the Community” project, in which learners on a variety of courses actively work on community projects on a voluntary basis. Recently, the department held a ‘Construction Rowing Challenge’, where two teams raced in sculled boats from Torquay to Paignton Harbour and back again. This sponsored race was to raise monies for a replacement minibus that would enable the section to continue to work on these local community-based projects.

So far the “Construction in the Community” students have undertaken projects at Occombe Farm in Paignton, where they have built a new Education Centre Straw Bale Building; they installed a new boiler room and kitchen at White Rock Primary School; and undertook a variety of work at Chelston Cricket Club, Brixham Community Swimming Pool, and most recently at Douglas House - the Leonard Cheshire Disability Residential Home in Brixham. Volunteer Coordinator at Douglas House, Sandra Marsden, said “the students have been absolutely fantastic and the work they have done is going to make a real difference to the lives of our residents.”

The volunteer scheme was such a hit with students, staff, and the community, that the Construction Department at the College were keen to do whatever it took to raise the funds for a new minibus and help the project grow. The ‘Construction Rowing Challenge’ was set by Head of Construction at South Devon College Dean Bowden, who picked two separate teams for the race, one consisting of Carpenters, and one being made up of Plasterers, Bricklayers, Painters and Decorators,. Thanks to the generous support of local businesses who heard about the challenge, and College staff who supported by sponsoring the individuals who took part, they managed to raise over �2500.

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