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Students and businesses step in to help charity after arson attack

Updated: 10.09.21

Students and businesses step in to help charity after arson attack

Students at The Sheffield College have worked with local businesses to help a charity for the homeless recover from a devastating arson attack.

The Archer Project’s premises in Sheffield City Centre suffered severe damage last year from a fire that ripped through the building and destroyed three rooms.

Students at The Sheffield College have assisted the Wates Group with the repairs, and various companies have also donated materials and equipment.

Bryony Wilshaw, Communications and Fundraising Officer, The Archer Project, said: “The last 14 months have been really difficult for us without the use of these rooms, so when the Wates Group stepped in to help refurb the two smaller rooms, we couldn’t have been more pleased."

She added: “The Wates Group is one of the largest privately-owned construction, development, and property services companies in the UK so we knew our rooms were in safe and capable hands.”

Student Lucas Hodgkins, 19, who is studying a Carpentry and Joinery Level 2 qualification, said: “I worked alongside Wates to put up polystyrene roof tiles by cutting them down to size and fitting them. As a result, I feel like my communication skills and working with others has improved.”

He added: “After I finish college, I plan to go into carpentry and joinery full-time doing something like kitchen fitting or furniture making because those are the things that I enjoy the most.”

The students are all part of The Sheffield College Business Support Team, sponsored by Wates via the Higher Skills Higher Growth Project.

The project provides skills support to small and medium-sized businesses in the region and enables students to benefit from relevant career and industry experience.

Andrew Bell, Project Manager at Wates, said: “The reason I got involved was because I wanted to help and give something back for these vulnerable people. They lost a great resource after the fire and everyone at Wates was more than happy to step in along with our local supply chain partners to make this happen."

He added: “I hope that getting these rooms back in operation will help people to better their lives. As my grandmother told me many years ago, do unto others what you would want done to you. This has stuck with me all my life.”

 Now that the two rooms have been transformed, the Project is in the process of setting up a new activity space in one. The other room will be used for the crisis intervention staff who work to re-engage homeless or vulnerably housed adults with the relevant support services.

The Archer Project would like to say a huge thank you to the Wates Group, The Sheffield College, YEC Electrical and Construction Services, Oakswood Services Limited, OpenView Security Solutions Limited, SYS Scaffolding, and Nuneaton Signs Limited. 

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