A group of budding little builders from a school in Scotswood, have been enjoying some very special visits to a live construction site.

Pupils, from Bridgewater Primary, witnessed the huge earth moving machinery preparing land at The Rise for the next phase of building on the regeneration initiative which is creating new homes in their area.

Donning their own hard hats and high vis jackets, donated by the partnership behind the project – New Tyne West Development Company – they were able to see first-hand some of the techniques and machinery required to prepare a site for housebuilding.

The school now plans to create its own hands on, creative play space and a donation from HMH Civils, the contractor carrying out the pre-construction preparation work at The Rise, will help to kit this out with new equipment.

Sam Robson, Headteacher, said: “Our school is very close to The Rise and the children have a natural interest in what is going on. The visits have enabled our pupils to find out more about the work taking place in their local area, to understand how to stay safe and to learn about the various jobs people do on a large construction project.

“We have been able to link these visits to our curriculum, showing how science, mathematics, art and English are all skills that play a part in planning, building and selling a house.

“The outdoor learning space that we are now creating will be a superb asset for the children, as they begin to re-acquaint and play together following this long and difficult period of lockdown. We’d like to thank HMH Civils for the donation and for offering to help dig our new sandpit.”

John Hughes, Managing Director with HMH Civils, added:  “It was a pleasure to show the youngsters around the site, explaining the potential hazards and dangers in construction, whilst demonstrating safe working. We are delighted to have been chosen by NTWDC as the contractor to deliver best value, aesthetically pleasing engineering solutions for this area’s changing scheme.”

Lee McGray, Director with NTWDC, said: “Engaging local people, groups and schools in what we are doing in Scotswood is as important as building the new homes because it helps to achieve our aim of developing a sense of ownership, pride and community.

“We have been very lucky to work with pupils from Bridgewater in many initiatives at The Rise and hope their latest visit will continue to keep them interested in a major project on their doorstep.”

NTWDC is a partnership between Newcastle City Council and regeneration and construction specialist, Keepmoat Homes.  Since it began developing the 27 hectare site on the banks of the River Tyne at Scotswood, almost 400 homes have been completed – 332 for private sale and the remainder for affordable rent and shared ownership.

With phase two now well underway, construction is being stepped up to deliver 100 homes a year over the next five years.  The Rise will eventually comprise 1,800 homes with its own district heating system – already in place – and a neighbourhood centre, including community, retail and health provision space.

Alongside this, local community and charity groups – such as Healthworks – will continue to benefit from up to £75,000 each year from a fund set up to support educational, art and environmental initiatives, celebrating the area’s history.

Access to employment, schools and non development apprenticeships projects will also be backed, whilst on site, most of the investment made will be spent with local suppliers and contractors, supporting further training opportunities, apprenticeships and job creation.

Picture caption:  Maisie Rye (foreground left) and Mikey Bell (right), both 11, together with some of their fellow pupils and staff from Bridgewater Primary School in Scotswood, help John Hughes (centre left) and Lee McGray (right), to get work underway on the next phase of building at The Rise in Scotswood.