Animal care students at West Nottinghamshire College are looking forward to welcoming some four-legged friends thanks to the creation of a paddock by a national social enterprise.

Volunteer it Yourself (VIY) has enabled students to work with their mentor joiners to create a goat paddock, which will enhance their learning in caring for larger mammals on-campus.

The animal care team was keen to turn a grassed area of the animal unit’s garden into land suitable for goats. Presently, students visit a local farm to get experience of caring for large mammals.

A bid was proposed to VIY to create an enclosed paddock area suitable to an area for two kid goats, which the animal care team are planning to welcome to the unit after Christmas. The area needed to provide a hard-standing area as well as sheds for shelter and feeding and a secure boundary fence.

Throughout November up to 50 students from the Level 1 animal care and Level 2 employability groups have enjoyed time with trades mentors from VIY to build new and strengthen existing fencing to create the enclosure, utilising drills, saws and measuring tools.

Using timber supplied by Travis Perkins builders merchants, students worked creatively to build two sheds for the goats to shelter in, as well as an activity ‘mountain’ for them to climb on. Many of the students had never used carpentry and joinery tools before, yet all secured an entry level certificate in carpentry and joinery after completion of their volunteering work.

Since February 2022, community interest company Volunteer it Yourself (VIY) has been supporting young people with work experience opportunities while helping to regenerate 26 spaces throughout Nottinghamshire, funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council. It aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK, focused in three Government priority areas across the county.

Projects have included the creation of a fruit and vegetable garden at the college’s Derby Road campus in June as well as a makeover of Mansfield’s Old Library, which saw the college’s painting and decorating students spend some time volunteering as part of their work placement hours.

(Left to right) Student Paul Brocklehurst, VIY’s Graham Blackburn, YFF’s Andy Richardson and student Zak Freestone

VIY offers young people – mainly those ‘disengaged or excluded from mainstream education and training, at risk of disengagement, and/or unemployed’ – opportunities to learn trade skills while helping to fix community spaces and places in need of improvement.

Animal care teacher Stacey Allcock, said: “It’s been a wonderful project to get our students involved in. I’m really proud of the skills they’ve learnt and the enthusiasm they’ve shown in creating this new space has been evident.

“By utilising a lot of old pallets and fencing we’ve worked hard to help the environment by recycling materials to use for the goats’ sheds. We can’t wait to welcome two baby goats to their new home in the New Year!”

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