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                               Newcastle Archive                              

Elswick Pool

Following the fantastic work done clearing the Town Moor after the Hoppings came to Newcastle. Elswick Pool are absolutely delighted with the recent work carried out by The Skill Mill team. This is a brilliant outcome for those involved. 

Sandyford's Benton House

The appearance of a local building that is home to community mental health services has enjoyed a trim and tidy up, thanks to the team in Newcastle. The team spent two days in Sandyford cutting down weeds, removing litter and replanting Benton House’s planters. Great work from everyone involved! 

Clearing Culverts

During the last few weeks the team have been maintaining culverts around Newcastle: clearing them of silt and other blockages. This reduces flood risk and ensures the structures are accessible for inspection by the Newcastle City Council engineers. 

Merchants Wharf

"Skill Mill have done a superb job" in the words of a local resident, as the Newcastle team finish work at Merchants Wharf. The team have replaced all the wooden sides of the flower beds and planters there and the place is looking fabulous. 

The Skill Mill Video

VIDEO: How the Skill Mill helps young offenders improve their lives & Estonia too. Check out the donations page or click the button below to view the video. 

Ogle, Northumberland

The Skill Mill cohort started with planting 100 trees of mixed species which were all tubed and staked to protect them from wildlife. These were planted on a banked area of farmland between two fields which are located near to the watercourse.

The next stage involved working on the south bank of the watercourse 700 meters downstream from the road bridge to help reduce bank erosion. Using willow provided, The Skill Mill were shown by members of the Northumberland Rivers Trusts several techniques on how to work the willow to stable the banks. The techniques shown included ‘pinned woody debris’, ‘bundles of willow’ and ‘willow whips’.

The final task was to build and install a fish pass under Ogle bridge. This pass was built using Oak batons which has been bolted into the concrete river bed by using a cordless power drill and fixing it together using 8mm stainless steel anchors.

An oak box was also constructed and placed below the fish pass to hold water to enable the fish to get get up onto the fish pass without running into shallow waters. This box has been bolted also into a concrete bed and lined with clay which had been taken from the bank further upstream.

This piece of work had been the most challenging to date. It required teamwork and new skills to be learned and applied. It gave the cohort an insight into reducing erosion and the advantages of encouraging the local wildlife to thrive.

On site there were four different aspects to the job which gave a variety of work and meant learning new skills which the lads can take into future employment. The cohort took a great sense of pride in the work they have completed and are proud of what they have managed to achieve here.

Devil’s Burn – Town Moor North

Litter pick for the Freemen of Newcastle to clear part of the Town Moor to enable them to graze cattle on the area throughout the summer.

  • 130 bags of rubbish recovered from the site

  • 2 push bikes

  • 10 vacuum cleaners

  • Mattresses

  • Carpets

  • Other fly-tipped junk

41 year old packet of Tudor crisps found.

Plants and trees had started growing through the rubbish such as through milk bottle handles making litter picking somewhat impossible in these areas.

It may require cutting back the first layer of shrubs to be able to get into the greenery to complete the litter pick further.

Plenty of positive feedback from local residents ‘finally clearing the area’ ‘hopefully you’ll be able to clear other areas too’

Freemen staff who came on site were pleased with what the cohort had managed in such a short time.

Lustrum Litter Pick (Brown’s Bridge)

This litter pick was carried out in an identified part of Lustrum Beck; Brown’s Bridge. It was here we carried out our multi-agency clear up after our first commissioned visit to Lustrum Beck.

Hypodermic needles were found and discarded safely.

The Environment Agency had identified a small area containing Japanese Knotweed which the lads were shown and precautions were taken around removing litter from this area, including the supervisor being one of the only people to access this area and the Environment Agency marking off the area so the cohort walked around the area litter picking carefully.

Household waste had been fly tipped over garden fences into this area.

More than 40 bags of litter was collected over the 3 day period.

The Environment Agency included a write up about this piece of week in their newsletter.

Quayside, Newcastle – Flood Defence

Job commissioned by Newcastle City Council to help protect a low lying area of the Quayside from coming Spring Tides.

The job was completed using approximately 5 or 6 tonnes of sand to fill around 40 hessian bags which were then laid to the spec the cohort used to construct the defence in South Tyneside.

A trainee engineer from the council came and visited everyday as they were interested in the way the wall was being constructed.

There was a big sense of achievement by all once the job was completed as they had to do everything themselves from filing the bags, to creating the wall, to making the sandbags less of an eyesore by covering it in black plastic lining.

Cowbridge Beck, Billingham

General litter pick/clean up the watercourse with removal of litter and debris after the banks of the Beck had been strimmed.

Approximately 80 bin liners of litter collected from the beck including a 24 year old packet of Tudor crisps!!!!!.

Two shopping trolleys found in and around Beck and reported to trolley wise.

Three minor blockages cleared.

No issues or concerns throughout the job.

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