Young Devon volunteers cut a path for Mayfield forest school pupils

The Young Devon volunteers who built the pathway at Mayfield School 

The Young Devon volunteers who built the pathway at Mayfield School - Credit: Young Devon

A group of young adults from Young Devon - who are currently not in employment, education, or training due to their own mental health or learning difficulties - volunteered to build a wheelchair accessible path at Mayfield School’s main site.

The Torquay school caters for pupils aged two to 16 years with complex learning disabilities.

This new path will now allow all pupils to access the Forest School, which is led by Sue Andrews.

Before - the site for the new pathway

Before - the site for the new pathway - Credit: Young Devon

The forest school provides students with unique and independent learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Pupils learn about flora and fauna, create natural art, and are able to engage in these activities whatever the weather.

After - the wheelchair accessible path

After - the wheelchair accessible path - Credit: Young Devon

Sue also teaches the children about fire and tool safety, and some of the older students have begun to learn to whittle flint and how to use bow saws and drills.

Each session is ended with a cup of hot chocolate warmed over an open fire.  

The group of six 18 to 24 year old novice landscapers are currently enrolled on the Prince’s Trust employability course with Young Devon.

The Young Devon volunteers

The Young Devon volunteers - Credit: Young Devon

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The project at Mayfield was started last year by a previous group but due to the pandemic, it was unable to be completed.

So, the current cohort took up the reins, along with the support and supervision of their tutor Nick Rowe, headteacher Stuart Heron and business manager Adam Tapp.

The kerb was removed, the ground flattened, and 20 heavy-duty rubber mats were cut, laid, aligned and fastened down.

The group also removed a large amount of hedgerow, but left some intact so the pupils can welcome small visitors in the shape of robins, blue tits, and wrens.

The project was also funded by the school, so the group was able to get stuck in to their task without having to deal with budgeting restraints.

The completed pathway

The completed pathway - Credit: Young Devon

A Young Devon spokesperson said: "The young adults have made a tangible and rewarding difference to children who are less able than themselves, and have assisted Mayfield School in being able to offer further holistic and exciting learning experiences for their pupils." 

If you are or know of a young person that would benefit from an employability course at Young Devon, contact the skills team on 01626 356720.