Classroom begins to take shape

Kids who have been excluded from school taking part in an outdoor skills class at UCAN Centre in Pontefract'Owen Askham tests the single person shelter with Liam Hepworth and Damian Akester'Picture by Dean Atkins
Kids who have been excluded from school taking part in an outdoor skills class at UCAN Centre in Pontefract'Owen Askham tests the single person shelter with Liam Hepworth and Damian Akester'Picture by Dean Atkins

Youngsters who have struggled in mainstream education are getting to grips with building a new outdoor classroom in Pontefract.

A group of 12 teenagers have begun work on building the new facility at the UCAN Centre, on Green Lane.

The project is being run by Wilderness Adventures - a company set up by firefighter Steve Brondel, who served in the military for 15 years.

Mr Brondel said: “The lads have really got into the project and they’re really enjoying it.

“It’s unbelievable how much of a success it’s been.”

The youngsters, from De Lacy Academy in Knottingley, Castleford Academy and King’s School in Pontefract, are learning survival and teacmwork skills to build the classroom.

Work begun six weeks ago and the youngsters hope to have it completed this summer.

Mr Brondel added: “The project is in its infancy at the moment and we are leaving a lot of the responsibilities to the lads themselves.

“There’s going to be an open day in the middle of the summer once it’s complete.”

The project is for children aged 14 to 16.

Mr Brondel said: “The project is mainly for children who have become disengaged from mainstream education.

“The main thing we are teaching is teamwork.

“We’ve had a lot of help and support from local businesses who have donated supplies so the classroom can be built.”