KEEN young apprentices took time out from learning their craft to revamp a community centre.
Teenagers from Sunderland crane-building company Liebherr rolled up their sleeves to apply fresh coats of paint to the Salvation Army’s Austin House Family Project.
The nine-strong team, aged 17 and 18, have already spent two weeks at the centre in Southwick, which is home to a nursery and community cafe.
Salvation Army worker Julie Judson said: “The opportunity arose that they were looking for somewhere to do community work with the apprentices as part of their scheme.
“They’ve painted one of our rooms, and they have done a very professional job.
“Now we are thinking of asking them to do something in the grounds and turn it into a community garden.”
Stephanie Hogan, HR adviser for Liebherr Sunderland, said the nine had entered the Brathay Challenge 2014, the official search for the nation’s apprentice team of the year.
The challenge, organised by the National Apprenticeship Service, tests apprentices on team building, communication abilities and various other tasks.
She added: “As part of the project, the team are working alongside the Salvation Army in Southwick.
“They chose to help the centre as it was local and does a great deal for the community. The team have done a great job while they have been there, and on behalf of the company, I would like to say how proud I am that they have given up their time to help such a fantastic cause.”
The spruced-up community centre is playing host to an Easter fun day on April 17, with go-karts, fun activities and visits from the police and fire service.
Austin House has also opened its kitchen to people living in the Salvation Army’s Swan Lodge lifehouse.
The residents have been learning how to put together a full English fry-up, which is sold in the centre’s cafe for just £1.50.