College students spend the week with brush in hand at Bideford Blues

Bideford College students have been giving young people a good name by helping out the Bideford Blues youth football club.

Ten college students who had been unable to complete their work experience elsewhere grabbed the chance to help the club by painting the new dugouts next to the main football pitch in Northam, which were donated last year by Park United, the adult team who also play there.

As well as sprucing up the dugouts, they have also been given license to be creative and produce a truly unique look for the Blues.

"It's something for them to say 'we did that'," said club committee member and assistant welfare officer Lorraine Lee, who approached the college about the project.

"It's something they've achieved, and there's only one artist amongst them, so I think they've pitched in really, really well.

"They've all been really polite and they've worked really well together.

They've bonded, which is nice. They all go to each other and talk when they're cleaning brushes or whatever. They've come a long way."

All of the students who took part in the painting will not just get their work experience forms signed. The club have also written letters for each of them to say thank you for their help.

Simon Boyne, one of the teachers from Bideford College who has overseen their work, has also seen a change in attitude through the experience.

"I think they're just pleased to help the community," he said.

"Every time they drive down here they can see their work straight away.

"It always surprises me how much they do. It's nice to see a different side to the kids, they've been really good.

"It's all about working with people who they don't normally work with and they've worked great as a team."

As well as the new dugouts, the students have also painted a new black board for the clubhouse and a target board - with the ultimate aim being to raise enough money for a new tractor for groundsman Dave - to help keep an eye on fundraising.

The club, which has over 300 youngsters on their books playing in 18 teams, will be holding a number of fundraising activities, including a car wash, and Devon FA will match all the money the club raises.

"We'll try and involve all the children from the club really because it's their club," said Chairman and girls' team manager Amy Hawkes.

"Everything the students from the college have done is great. It's all life skills that they can take away with them and it boosts their confidence."

The link between the club and the college is a well established one - a couple of years ago a similar group of youngsters painted a 1966-inspired mural in the clubhouse, and the club would be more than happy to see that link continue in the future.

Bideford Blues are still seeking sponsors for their kits, and welcome any new volunteers to help run the club.