Two students from Kidderminster have joined the team carrying out major building repairs to make new homes. Courtney Chapple and Frankie Green are on a work experience placement with Croft Building and Conservation Ltd who are repairing three houses in Horsefair known as Weavers Cottages.
The 16 and 17 year-olds who study bricklaying at Stourbridge College are spending two days a week restoring some of the frameworks of the 300-year-old buildings which have been vacant for over 20 years.
“The repairs began in February with a process of stabilising the building,” explained Andrew Hutchings, Site Manager at Croft Building and Conservation Ltd.
“Courtney and Frankie were keen to be involved from the offset, so they have been given their own jobs to do, such as repairing brickwork in one of the chimneys. They’ve tackled these brilliantly.
“As individuals just beginning their training, they have already gained valuable industry knowledge and developed skills that place them ahead of the game in terms of their professional progress.”
Weavers Cottages were purchased by the Worcestershire Building Preservation Trust so they could be restored for community use. The purchase was made possible through a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant and a loan from the Architectural Heritage Fund.
“Our aim was to preserve these buildings’ heritage while creating properties for future generations to enjoy,” commented Nigel Brown, Trustee for the Worcestershire Building Preservation Trust. “Thanks to the sterling work done so far, the buildings are more stable than they have been for the last 100 years.
“Providing young people with hands on experience of building restoration ensures these specialist skills are not lost and that other buildings can be preserved in future.”
Courtney and Frankie will continue their studies at Stourbridge College in September where new construction and built environment facilities will be available to full-time students and apprentices.
“This is my first time working on a building project and it’s just as good as I expected it to be,” said Courtney. “Frankie and I have grown up in the area so we’ve seen how Horsefair has changed over the years. It’s a huge deal for us to be involved in these developments and be part of the cottages’ history.”
“We’re learning a lot,” added Frankie. “Everyone at the site has told us we’re part of the team now, so we’re also spending the summer working here. It’s a brilliant start to our CVs.”