Meadowbrook Pupil Referral Unit

Completed: 2018
Location: Oxfordshire
Region: South East
Other local partners: Fusion Lifestyle, Oxfordshire Community Foundation

About the project

Meadowbrook College is a PRU (Pupil Referral Unit) that works with young people who are excluded, or at risk of exclusion, from mainstream schools and among the most vulnerable young people in Oxfordshire.

Our work with Meadowbrook covered the involvement of 18 of their students, all aged 15/16, as volunteers in the refurbishment of four community facilities between August 2017 and June 2018.

The work carried out across the four facilities (Barton Leisure Centre and Ferry Leisure Centre in Oxford, and Meadowbrook College’s own campuses in Abingdon and Bicester) included skills such as painting and decorating, plumbing, plastering and tiling, and the young people were mentored on the job by a team of three local professional tradespeople. In the process, the young participants contributed more than 500 volunteer hours whilst working towards achieving multiple City & Guilds Entry Level 3 trade skills accreditations.

One of the participants, 15-year-old Jason Higginson, had been at Meadowbrook for a year prior to signing up for the VIY project. He was attracted by the opportunity to volunteer and do something for his community at the same time as learning new skills and improving his employment prospects. He successfully achieved the Entry Level City & Guilds qualification and is now targeting a starter job as a painting and decorating apprentice on leaving Meadowbrook in June 2019.

Our students sometimes find it hard to form relationships and try new things, and can struggle with traditional learning environments. VIY has enabled our young people to safely challenge themselves and learn new employability skills, while also helping to create improved spaces in the community for themselves and others. Jessie Dobson, Vocational/Technical Studies & Work Related Learning Lead at Meadowbrook College