Leeds College of Building students work on the Herd Farm refurbishment project.

A group of Leeds College of Building students brushed up on their skills after volunteering to redecorate facilities at Herd Farm Residential and Activity Centre.

Painting & Decorating and Multi-Skills students from the College spent several weeks on site, prepping walls and woodwork before painting two office rooms, a reception area, and the staff kitchen.

The project also gave valuable work experience to students on the College’s Bridge Builder programme, which offers training for students aged 16 – 24 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) or High Needs.

John Clancy, Curriculum Manager for Construction Crafts at Leeds College of Building, explained:


“Herd Farm approached Leeds College of Building and asked if students could assist with refurbishing some spaces on site. We already had an existing relationship as our students visit annually and use the outdoor facilities for induction and team-building activities. 

“We, in turn, spoke to our partner, Caddick Construction, who had funds to sponsor a community project. They generously agreed to donate £2,000 of materials if we could supply the labour.” 

Leeds College of Building staff completed a site visit, ordered materials, and assigned students to the project. The student placements rotated as the project progressed, and a core team attended daily over the last two weeks to ensure that the work was completed on time.

Debbie Watson, Social Value Manager (Yorkshire) at Caddick Construction Ltd, said:

“We have a long-standing relationship with Leeds College of Building, hosting T Level placements and site visits, as well as delivering talks to students and supporting careers events. We were delighted to support this valuable community project while also giving the next generation of construction professionals experience of working on a real brief.”

Donna Russell, Centre Manager at Herd Farm Residential & Activity Centre, added:

“We are so pleased with our redecorated office and really appreciate all the hard work that has gone into it. The students enjoyed coming up to Herd Farm and were a pleasure to deal with. They took great pride in seeing the difference they made to our working space – a legacy that will last for some years!

“At Herd Farm, our mission is to make a difference in the lives and experiences of others. In this instance, the students have repaid this to us – a massive thank you to all involved.”

The project team is now discussing potential future projects, including developing and building an archery shelter to enhance the activities offered at Herd Farm during poor weather. This initiative would involve students from the brickwork and joinery departments, as well as painting and decorating students to complete the project.

John concluded:

“The project provided a real-life opportunity for students to put their skills into practice, see a project through from start to finish, and make a big difference to the staff at Herd Farm. All the students understood the value of working on a project like this – to benefit those who work with thousands of young people from across the city on a yearly basis, nurturing the potential of the young people who visit.”

Find out more about Painting & Decorating courses on the Leeds College of Building website or book your place at the next Open Event on Saturday 18 May, 10am – 1pm, South Bank Campus.