The first stage of the restoration of the cloister gardens at The Monastery in Gorton, east Manchester has been completed.
Thirty students took just five days to recreate the garden in the original Franciscan style.
The block paving work at the monastery was carried out by MANCAT'S general construction students including apprentice mason paviours and a 16-18 programme led group along with offenders who are doing the work unpaid as part of their community order.
Elaine Griffiths, Project Director for the Monastery of St Francis and Gorton Trust said: "The work is amazing and the garden has been transformed in the past week. We are really thrilled by all the support that has been given to help us to deliver this project in an affordable way, and to such a high standard of professionalism. We just can't thank the lads enough. Now the paving is in place, we need to complete the gardens by planting the beds, and, subject to funding, hope to have the work done this summer. It will be wonderful to see the garden returned to its former glory."
MANCAT's Learning Zone Leader Ged Ironmonger said "All the students involved in the project were very enthusiastic about the work and two objectives were achieved within the progress of the job. The apprentices used the block paving as part of their NVQ level 2 qualification and the 16-18s were given the opportunity to work on a real construction site carrying out real paving compared to the assimilated work carried out in college. This type of work also strengthens existing links between the college and the local community."
Debbie Wilford, from Greater Manchester Probation Area, who supervises the project, said:
"This has been an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the contribution that offenders on unpaid work can make to improving the local community environment, working in partnership with other agencies, for the benefit of all!
Greater Manchester Probation Area, through its Unpaid Work Division, has been heavily involved with Gorton Monastery for a number of years. We regularly provide supervised groups of offenders to work on a variety of projects that improve the Monastery and its surroundings, which has a big impact on the local area."
John Devine Ltd, a haulage contractor from Stockport, donated MOT Type 1 stone and Greengate Builder Merchants from Accrington donated bedding sand.
For more information on Gorton Monastery or to book the venue or a tour call 0161 223 3211 or visit www.themonastery.co.uk
Roz Hughes at New East Manchester, tel 0161 223 1155