News Stories

From ‘Skint’ to skills thanks to a grant from Biffa Award
29 May 2014

Funding from Biffa Award has helped to raise the profile of Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire, having recently been portrayed as part of the Channel 4 documentary series ‘Skint’ which looks at how people survive without work. 


The Sawcliffe Farm holistic social project based near Roxby secured a £50,000 grant last year to turn a disused farm into an eco friendly community centre.  The project work included the installation of new windows and doors along with a new heating system.  The centre is a well used hub, from which a variety of local community projects are delivered to dyslexic and autistic children and young adults.


Councillors and local MPs from both main parties came to visit the small apprenticeship project run at the centre, with the aim of developing a new strategy to combat the high youth unemployment in Scunthorpe with North Lindsey College.   The college sent three young apprentices to join the Apprenticed Journeyman Carpenters from Germany and local Master Carver, Joiner and Carpenter, John Barnard.  Thanks to John’s dedication and specialist skills the apprentices were able to gain more experience in rare oak, hemp plastering and stone work on site.


Recently two of the apprentices were recognised as part of prestigious national awards, including the North of England Apprentices Carpentry Award.


Marina Elwes, Secretary of Sawcliffe Farm holistic social project said:


"We are very excited by Biffa Award and hope that the project encourages other community building developments to take on local apprentices". 


Mr Barnard, Master Carpenter, who retires in June after forty years working for the Elwes Estates said:


“I am retiring soon and my skills would otherwise have been lost, so it was a great idea of the German Journeymen here to involve younger apprentices in the project.”


A spokesperson for the German Carpentry Guilds said:


“We really enjoyed coming from Germany to England to pass on our enthusiasm to those involved in the apprentices’ project.  It is about pride in helping others to achieve a higher skill craftsman level during Apprenticeships.“