Pupils from Central Walker CofE Primary School got the opportunity to learn how to build birdboxes and become master bricklayers as work started on a year-long project to build homes on Wharrier Street in Walker.
The development, which is being built by leading energy and regeneration specialist ENGIE on behalf of Places for People, will see 36 two, three and four-bedroom homes constructed on land formerly home to Wharrier Street Primary School and is expected to complete in October 2020.
As works got underway, eight Year Five pupils from Central Walker CofE school got the opportunity to quiz members of the ENGIE site team about the development and had the opportunity to learn new skills under the watchful eyes of site managers Paul Williams and John Beck and their colleagues.
The group were shown how to build sturdy brick walls by site operative Bob Ferguson before getting put through their paces by building small brick walls of their own. The pupils also got the opportunity to build their own birdboxes to take home with them – perfect for the upcoming winter months.
After getting his hands dirty with bricks and mortar, nine-year-old Mohamad has his eyes set on a career in construction. He said: “I want to be a builder when I’m older, I really liked building the wall and it was fun building the birdboxes.”
In addition to giving future builders a taste of construction, the project is providing a wider economic benefit to the area, with two new jobs set to be created as well as a number of work experience opportunities for local people in conjunction with Newcastle Futures/Generation NE.
Lee Francis, Area Director at ENGIE, said: “We are delighted to be working with Places for People on this project, continuing a relationship that encompasses a number of housing developments in the North East including Chalfont Road, which neighbours the Wharrier Street site.
“These modern properties will be a fantastic addition to Walker, located close a number of local amenities and primary schools as well as being within ideal commuting distance of Newcastle City Centre.”
Nilam Buchanan, Head of Development (North East, Yorkshire and Humberside) at Places for People said, “We are really excited that work is now underway at Wharrier Street. The project is the latest phase in a number of developments being delivered in partnership with Newcastle City Council, Homes England and ENGIE which will bring much needed affordable housing to Walker.”