CORE bench sculpture

Bench is students’ ‘beautiful’ legacy to Barrow

Six students from Furness College’s CORE programme have teamed up with a specialist sculpture artist to create a lasting legacy for people of Barrow in just one day.

They worked with Charlie Whinney to design and craft a beautiful wooden bench that will be installed in the gardens of College House, on Duke Street, outside where the programme is based.

Students Jack Reed, Aidan Herron, Riley Holme, Devon Littlewood, Melissa Crook and Tamzin Logan have all now successfully completed the course that develops their skills and prepares them for the workplace.

The final project element aimed to showcase their confidence and self-esteem and build on skills such as leadership and team work, communication and employability skills.

Furness College’s CORE programme (Creating Opportunities for Real Education) supports students who struggle in a traditional college environment and give them the skills and confidence to progress into the workplace.

CORE Pathway Coach Sarah Biggins said the students had been working hard to develop their skills throughout the year, through classroom and online study while facing the challenges of learning during a pandemic.

“They planned, researched and produced outstanding work in preparation for the trip,” she said. “Charlie and the students worked well together. He listened to the students’ ideas and creativity and allowed them to be in control of the final project utilising the skills they have developed while at CORE.”

She said she was really proud of the end result and thanked Nick Greenall, director of Creative Communities and youth worker, who had also supported the project.

Sculpture artist Charlie said it had been a ‘real pleasure’ having such a creative group of young people in his workshop in Witherslack and he would be happy to have them back anytime.

“We started the day with nothing, and by the time the minibus left they had helped design and make a stunning oak and larch bench to take back to their college,” he said. “I genuinely had no idea what we were going to create. I was impressed by the good decision-making and confident use of a wide variety of tools the group demonstrated to achieve the beautiful finished design in record time.”

Student Jack Reed said he had enjoyed the experience. “We made a bench within four hours and it actually looks good. We steam bent the wood to make it more malleable and then we bent the wood into a suitable shape. Overall I think it came out really well.”

Student Aidan Herron also said he was proud of the end product and had enjoyed the day. “Charlie was really cool, the trip was more fun than I expected it to be and I was happy with what we made.”

CORE Senior Team Leader Ami France said the project was the culmination of work that had included a life size Christmas Nutcracker raffled for charity, wall murals and garden planters.

She said the students are currently finalising their progression choices, some will be returning to CORE in September to progress to the Level 2 in Skills for Employment, Training and Personal Development, others have planned to progress on to courses at Channelside and one student is exploring progressing into arboriculture.

For more information about CORE visit www.furness.ac.uk/about/core

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