Thirteen students from the Prince’s Trust Team in South West College Cookstown have completed a community ‘Woodland Walkway’ project at Cookstown Primary School in conjunction with Cookstown Council.
They transformed an overgrown four acre forest into an accessible, usable space for local groups and children from Cookstown Primary, Holy Trinity Primary and Phoenix Integrated Primary School to use.
The volunteers, aged 16-25, worked on the project over a two week period, spending the first two days manually clearing pathways, which was very physically demanding. They used the materials already in the forest to edge the paths, and any materials they couldn’t find in the forest were sourced from the Garden Corner, Cookstown Road.
Once the pathways were made, the team worked on different areas in the forest, creating a bird area (with bird bath and feeders), a bug garden, a flower trail and a special Halloween pathway. It is hoped that local school children will enjoy these outdoor art features, and that the area will become an important part of the children’s eco and nature studies.
The project was unveiled by Councillor Tony Quinn, Chairman of Cookstown District Council at a launch event attended by local teachers and school children on Thursday 25 October at Cookstown Primary School.
Prince’s Trust Team Leader at South West College, Leon Hughes said “The team had a huge task in clearing a very large forest area, they worked non-stop for the first three days to create the pathways before starting to use their more creative skills to make the area visually appealing. As a team they worked really well together and everyone had an input into how the final project would look.
“A wide range of skills such as teamwork, project management, planning, problem solving and creativity are developed during the community project, which can then be transferred to the workplace and everyday life. Participating in the project and the development of skills will be a valuable addition to their CVs.”
The Prince’s Trust students are currently in week five of a twelve week programme and will be going out on work placement for two weeks after the Halloween break. They have just completed CIHE First Aid at Work and continue to work towards completing their qualification Certificate in Employment, Teamwork and Community Skills at Level One or Two.