New-Bridge refurbish shelter for Habitat

Pupils from New-Bridge Integrated College have been busy renovating a shelter house with Habitat for Humanity.

The year 13 students were keen to build on the school’s ongoing link with the charity, and teamed up with pupils from St Mary’s High School, Newry, to work on the project.

At the first of three workshops hosted by New-Bridge on Wednesday November 13, pupils were given the opportunity to spend some time getting acquainted before exploring the work carried out by Habitat for Humanity.

“We spent half a day led by the Habitat facilitators learning about the work of the charity throughout the world, and how they provide housing for people who are disadvantaged,” said Stephen Clarke, sixth-form coordinator.

The 20 Year 13 volunteers from both schools then set off to Belfast for a practical day, renovating a Simon Commuity hostel.

They made a big improvement in the living conditions for the residents, not to mention making some great friends.

Talking of how the experience impacted pupils, Stephen said: “Not only were they able to build worthwhile relationships but it was also the sort of experience that develops the whole person.

“At New-Bridge we feel it’s not just all about getting good grades. We want to educate our students to be well rounded young adults as well.

“The shelter we were working on was for homeless people, a dry-house for people struggling with alcohol addiction problems.”

This work was then followed up by a debriefing at St Mary’s High School, where future fund-raising events were planned.

Habitat for Humanity set the students involved a fund-raising challenge of £1235 to reach by June 2014, the average cost of a house in a developing country.

“The two schools will now work together now on fund-raisers such as bag packs,” said Stephen.

Some of the volunteers will use this experience to count towards their Volunteer Certificate Award and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.