(Pictured) All the East Durham College students on courses at Bill Quay Farm show off their trophies and certificates after the award ceremony, along with Heworth and Pelaw councillor Jill Green (Centre)

First Set of Students Pick Up Awards at Bill Quay Farm

(Pictured) All the East Durham College students on courses at Bill Quay Farm show off their trophies and certificates after the award ceremony, along with Heworth and Pelaw councillor Jill Green (Centre).

A community farm has celebrated a successful first year of hosting college courses by honouring its students.

Bill Quay Farm in Gateshead was taken over less than a year ago by the Bill Quay Community Farm association in July 2013.

Soon after, the Association teamed up with East Durham College’s Houghall Campus to launch courses in animal care, starting in September 2013, to offer people in the Tyne and Wear area easier access to these specialist courses.

And the first intake of students were honoured at an awards ceremony at the farm yesterday.

Members of staff from the farm and lecturers from East Durham College were on hand to help celebrate the students’ success, along with local councillor for Heworth and Pelaw Jill Green - who kindly presented the awards.

Each student received a certificate for successfully completing their qualifications over the year and there were also four extra awards handed out.

Georgia McCormack, 19, Jarrow, received the award for most improved student across the year, Jamie Todd, 18, Gateshead, collected the award for best student aged 16-18 and Laurie Hogg, 22, South Shields, received the award for the best student aged 19 or over.

But the top award presented was for the best overall student, which went to Johnny Clayton, 24, from Jarrow, for his hard work and excellent achievements.

Bill Quay Farm Association Chief Executive, Craig Bankhead, hailed the courses run at Bill Quay as a massive success and can’t wait to see the courses continue into the next academic year.

Craig said: “It’s been less than a year since we took over the farm from Gateshead Council and it’s all going really well.

“The work by the students around the site is a huge factor in this and it’s great to see them really enjoying taking part in the courses here.

“A huge thank you must also go to East Durham College who really got on board straight away with what we are trying to do here and brought these courses to meet the needs of students in the Tyne and Wear area.”

Assistant Programme Leader for Animal Studies at East Durham College, Ian Hall, added: “It’s been a brilliant first year for the students here at Bill Quay Farm and we’ve seen some fantastic results.

“We have had a 100% achievement and retention rate on the courses and now we are looking ahead to next year and further success.”

“We will have a new intake of students, with nearly 20 already signed up, along with the students who are already here and are staying on another year to work towards their next levels of qualifications.

“Along with the students, we really have to praise all the staff for their hard work over the past year to help the students achieve the wonderful success they have.”

There are still some spaces available for courses at Bill Quay Farm in animal care and land based studies starting this September, for more information you can contact Bill Quay Farm on 0191 441 9715 or East Durham College on 0191 375 4710.