Construction students from Moulton College have been putting the final touches on a series of new projects at Rushden Lakes in collaboration with the Wildlife Trust Beds, Cambs & Northants. It follows the success of last year’s Gateway Project, which saw students from the College’s Higham Ferrers campus team up with North Northamptonshire Council and other partner organisations to deliver heritage-themed planters in the shape of a train.
Over the last few months, a group of Level 1 and Level 2 Carpentry and Bricklaying students have created new furniture and carried out maintenance work at the vibrant Rushden Lakes complex and Nene Wetlands nature reserve. The projects have included a new gate for the pond dipping platform, and benches and stools in the Wildlife Trust’s Education Area, where the charity runs community group visits and family events to help the public learn about nature.
The students have also worked in partnership with The Wildlife Trust and Rushden Lakes on their new community garden project. This project allows local groups to get hands-on, growing wildlife-friendly plants and herbs, as well as fruit and vegetables that will be donated to local community food initiatives.
Alan Turner, Carpentry Lecturer at Moulton College says: “A number of our cohort have been involved in this year’s projects, working closely with the Wildlife Trust and Rushden Lakes to carry out maintenance work and deliver new projects. It’s been a fantastic opportunity for our students to get hands-on experience while contributing to the local community and conservation efforts.”
Donna French, Centre Manager, Rushden Lakes says: “Having looked at a flat concrete space for three years, my idea was to have a community garden. When I met with Viktoria from the Wildlife Trust in the Nene Wetlands visitor centre, she mentioned that she would love a community garden project!
“I was delighted that the idea could come to fruition. Since Viktoria launched the project, it has gone from strength to strength, with the support of the local volunteers and especially Moulton College. Viktoria has worked so hard to showcase the garden and give charities the opportunity to work in the space to support mental wellbeing.”
The Wildlife Trust’s Viktoria Marta adds: “It was a pleasure to work with Alan and his students from Moulton College. They were very dedicated and created planters and a bench for our new Rushden Lakes Community Garden.
“These items had been since painted and filled up with soil while donated fruits, vegetables and herbs were planted out by different community groups. It is great to get the younger generation involved in a project which will serve the local community of all ages and abilities. We are looking forward to working with Alan and the team next term, and already have plans together for the next stage of the project.
“We know that gardening is great for people’s physical and mental wellbeing, as well as having the potential to be great for wildlife too. We’re really grateful to both Rushden Lakes for allowing us to use this area and to Moulton College for helping with the construction elements, which have allowed us to get this project off the ground. It’s great to see that it’s already making a huge difference to members of the local community!”
Moulton College offers a range of construction courses at its Moulton and Higham Ferrers and Moulton sites, including carpentry bricklaying, plumbing, and electrical services. Visit www.moulton.ac.uk to find out more.