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14 Dec 2022

Wigan-based charity to get striking new space following partnership with homebuilder Northstone

Wigan-based education charity Apple Cast is set to take delivery of a new dedicated learning space thanks to a new partnership with Peel L&P's homebuilder Northstone.

Northstone’s ‘Huddle’ – a striking wood-clad building used as an on-site marketing suite – is currently being dismantled in Bolton, before being transported to its new home at Apple Cast’s base at Cobbs Brow Lane in Newburgh.

The much-loved local charity provides alternative education, including supporting young people into careers in property and construction.

Once delivered, learners will be able to get hands-on and help reconstruct the sustainable building on site, with the Huddle then acting as a classroom space for young people to learn construction skills.

Neil Farnworth, founder of Apple Cast, said:  “We’ve worked hard to provide an alternative route into work for young people who struggle with traditional education and classroom learning. Our work with Northstone is a genuine partnership that will be transformational for Apple Cast and the lives of people who come here.

“Not only are they helping develop young people’s skills as part of our training programmes, but the donation of the Huddle from Silkash in Bolton will be fantastic. The students will get real, hands-on experience re-building it on our site and it’ll then become a brilliant learning space. Such an upgrade on their existing cabin sends a really strong message to our learners that they are valued and worthy of a fantastic facility.”

It’s part of a wider partnership between the charity and Northstone, who are currently on site delivering 268 sustainable 2, 3 and 4-bed homes in Wigan at Tulach – the new community off Smith Brook Road.

As well as donating the Huddle, the homebuilder has handed over its waste wood from development sites in Greater Manchester to help learners practice carpentry skills, with the creations then sold in the Apple Cast garden centre. The team are also planning on visiting Apple Cast to support their construction programmes, passing on their skills and knowledge of the industry. Other North West based companies are also supporting the project with NJL providing free planning services and Wyder Timber (who built the Huddle originally) donating labour.

Berni Barry, Senior Development Manager at Northstone, said: “It’s been fantastic to strike up a really meaningful partnership with Apple Cast and identify lots of ways in which we can support their brilliant work.  With their focus on getting young people the right skills and experience to have a successful future in construction, it was the perfect fit for us.

“We can’t wait to see the Huddle taking shape at its new home and are sure that people will enjoy studying in there. The donation is all part of our mission to ensure we’re not only getting behind local causes at a time when support is needed most, but we’re making sustainable choices by securing a lasting use of the building.”

Apple Cast has gone from strength to strength in recent years. It began life providing fishing days with the aim of diverting young people away from anti-social behaviour.

The charity has since become an alternative education success story, with 200 young people and adults taking part in its programmes in the last year. Founder Neil is now looking to expand its services to provide post-school provision for 16-18-year-olds.

Northstone is currently on site at Tulach in Wigan, with its design-led, energy-efficient homes now on sale and show homes open to visitors. For more information visit:

Photo: The Huddle in situ at Tulach at Silkash in Bolton before its donation.

More about Peel L&P's charitable and community work here