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Engineering a bright start to outdoor education

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A team of engineering experts at a globally renowned company have helped give local schoolchildren a
brighter start to education.

Three members of staff at engineering giants Forth based at Flimby, Maryport, spent part of their working week at nearby Ewanrigg Junior School to construct an outdoor classroom and library space, as part of a community project instigated by the school.

As part of the Centre for Leadership Performance’s Bright Stars project, schoolchildren at Ewanrigg were
asked to make a difference at their school. And they dreamed big by deciding they wanted to create an
outdoor area which would double up as a learning space and library on land it leases from Allerdale
Borough Council.

The school’s business manager Eileen Ditchburn put out a call for local assistance, and without hesitation community-minded firm Forth, a leader in engineering excellence, went one better than answering a request to lend tools by deciding to carry out the construction job itself.

This week, head of projects special projects Ben Telford, commercial manager Scott Mattinson, joiner
Dave Harvey and apprentice mechanical fitter Harry Bray gave up their time free of charge to complete
the job to ensure the children could use the new education area before the end of the current school year.
Mark Telford, Forth’s managing director, said: “When we were approached by the school to lend tools for the project, we didn’t give a second thought to rolling up our sleeves and carrying out the construction ourselves.

“We felt that just lending the tools would not help the school, its pupils and staff as much as we would
want to, and that giving up our time to actually carry out the job would be much more valuable to them.

“We strive to always help out in our local community wherever possible, and we were pleased that we
could make a big difference for generations of schoolchildren to come.”

The Forth team spent more than one school day at Ewanrigg during the week to make sure the job was
finished before the weekend arrived.

And the engineering experts all had an enjoyable time engaging with the schoolchildren, answering
questions about their industry and the exciting opportunities on their doorstep.

Forth’s commercial manager, Scott Mattinson said: “It was great to see the children show such enthusiasm and be inspired by our work. It was a satisfying project to work on and it is rewarding to see
the children so engaged.”

The Bright Stars project was led by Class 6 at Ewanrigg, with the assistance of senior teacher Allison
Lancaster and business manager Eileen Ditchburn.

The school was grateful for the help provided by local businesses and individuals, and is looking forward
to getting to use the new area in the coming weeks.

The project involved children learning a range of new skills, from marketing, designing and working with
financial budgets, and included the entire school.

Miss Lancaster said: “The Bright Stars project really introduced the children to the world of work, and the jobs they want to do, and gave them the opportunity to do tasks they wouldn’t usually get a chance to do.

“The project has been really successful and involved the whole school, and it’s been great to see the children really interact and engage with the many different challenges needed to pull this together.

“Even though some of my class will be moving schools in September, they have put so much effort into
the project and they should be very proud of the legacy they have left for children for years to come.

“The support from local businesses has been overwhelming, and the school is really grateful and
appreciative for the community for their help as we couldn’t have done it without them.

“The team at Forth provided the manpower we desperately needed as if they didn’t volunteer their
services, it would be down to the teachers to build and it definitely wouldn’t have been a quick turnaround!”

Following the construction of the outdoor area, local electrician Lee Chilton, of AA Electrics, will wire the
building up with electricity, and local groundsman Barry Goodfellow will install a patio area to extend the outdoor space.

On a separate piece of land at the school, 150 willow sapling trees have been donated by Energy Crops
Consultancy as part of a community garden planned for the site.

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