Africa trip in aid of vital project

Josh Brown, who is from Widdrington, at one of the sites for the Morpeth Northern Bypass project that will connect the A1 to the Pegswood Bypass.
Josh Brown, who is from Widdrington, at one of the sites for the Morpeth Northern Bypass project that will connect the A1 to the Pegswood Bypass.

A Northumberland teenager has headed to southern Africa to help provide youngsters in need with a special centre for safety and support.

Josh Brown was chosen to be part of a team of employees that is now out in Lesotho working on the final stages of the vital facility for children.

The Widdrington resident is a technical apprentice at Carillion Plc, the organisation behind the construction of the Morpeth Northern Bypass. He is currently completing his Level Two BTEC in civil engineering.

Work on the Mamohato centre began in April 2014 and the remaining tasks that he and the others in the team are carrying out include everything from adding outdoor benches and installing rubber matting below sinks, to hanging plaques, painting walls and arranging the furniture.

When finished, the facility will become a flagship for the work of Sentebale – a charity co-founded by Prince Harry of Wales and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho.

It will support the most vulnerable children, including those who are victims of extreme poverty and the HIV/AIDs epidemic in Lesotho.

Josh, 17, said: “I was delighted to be picked as part of the team that will put the finishing touches on the children’s centre.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to gain some great experience and it will be good to be able to use the skills I have learned here in the UK to develop something really worthwhile in another country and help to make a positive difference to so many lives.”

The facility will enable Sentebale, working with local grassroots organisations, to provide safe accommodation, hot meals and psycho-social support for children, including orphans, children with HIV, disabled children and isolated herd boys.

Each member of the Carillion team has raised £1,000 to go towards the works and their upkeep while they are in Africa.

Dave Bennett, Morpeth Northern Bypass project director, said: “We are delighted that Josh was so eager to get involved in this project. He’s learned a lot in his time with here with the Morpeth team and, while he still has a way to go before qualifying, we’re sure his skills and enthusiasm will be a great help to the team in Lesotho.

“Working on the Mamohato centre for Sentebale is just one of many opportunities we offer to our placement students and employees to give them the broadest possible experience of the job, as well as a better appreciation of what good engineering and construction can achieve.

“At Carillion, we always try to give students, those at apprenticeship level, degree, masters and even PhD, the chance to work with us and learn the hands-on skills that you can’t pick up in a classroom and what better way than travelling to Africa to use those skills for a greater cause.”

The Morpeth Northern Bypass project involves building a new road from Fairmoor to the Whorral Bank roundabout to connect the A1 to the Pegswood Bypass.