Painting and Decorating Students Outside Reeds Building

EDC Painting and Decorating Students Revamp Reeds Building at the Houghall Campus

Mon, 2018-03-12 09:19

Painting and decorating students from East Durham College have put what they’ve learned towards a great cause – revamping the Reeds building, on the college’s Houghall campus in Durham, which is used by EDC’s Foundation Studies students.

The Reeds building is two old houses that the principal of the college used to live in during the 1960s and 1970s, which are found on the grounds of the Houghall campus. After some time of being unused, the college was debating either leaving or demolishing the building until Vice-principal Gillian Forrester and EDC’s painting and decorating team formed a plan to give the building a new lease of life.

Over the course of several weeks, nine of East Durham College’s painting and decorating students worked hard repainting the entire interior of the Reeds building. The students gained valuable work experience of real working conditions while working on the site, having to source materials and meet the demands of the customer. In this case, the building needed neutral colours throughout to ensure foundation students with sight problems can clearly differentiate between wall space and doorways.

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Before and After in the Reeds Kitchen

Gillian Forrester is thrilled with the changes to the building. She said: “This project brought together very different students from our Peterlee and Houghall campuses – all of the students have worked so hard on the project and all of the painting and decorating students have created an amazing space for our foundation students to work, relax and learn in.”

The newly revamped building has bright, airy spaces with freshly painted walls, including a repainted kitchen and two learning areas. At the rear of the building, a corridor of artwork which was painted by foundation learners before the revamp has been left intact, with impressive anime, videogame and other media-inspired drawings still adorning the walls.

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Original artwork by EDC Foundation learners still remains on the walls

With the redecoration now finished, the Reeds Building can be used as a comfortable, familiar space for foundation learners. As the building is two old houses joined together, it’s a space that does not feel strange or intimidating to learners as it offers many of the standard comforts of a house including a bathroom and bedrooms where students can learn day-to-day tasks such as ironing.

Craig Adams, 39, from Easington Lane, is one of the students who worked on the project. He said: “It was an absolute pleasure to do it, it’s definitely rewarding to see it finished.” His fellow student, Ryan Mortimer, 22, from Peterlee, added: “I’m really proud of the work, I’ve gained a lot of experience from it. It’s really rewarding to do hard work like this for a good cause.”

The newly revamped building was officially opened in late February with a special handover event where the foundation learners could look around the new building and meet with the painting and decorating students who carried out the work.

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The Handover Presentation at the Reeds

At the presentation, Gillian Forrester thanked the students for their hard work, and presented a gift of an Amazon voucher to each student for the incredible job they’d done.

Adrian Otty, lecturer in painting and decorating, said: “Thank you very much for organising the hand over presentation. The students are delighted that their work is appreciated and all of the students - Craig Adams, Glenn Griffiths, Ryan Mortimer, Oscar Davis, Jordan Skinner, James Armstrong, Sam Kettel, Linda McDonnald and Kieron Naylor – should be extremely proud of their work.”

In the future, the college plans to continue the revamp of the building by enhancing the gardens surrounding the Reeds building.

For more details on East Durham College’s range of painting and decorating courses, please visit

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Before and After in Upstairs Bedroom

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The Painting and Decorating Team who worked on the project