Archive for the ‘Future Build News’ Category

Apprenticeship Opportunities with Newcastle City Council

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

Looking for the opportunity to earn while you learn?  Why not consider an apprenticeship with Newcastle City Council?

For many years, our established apprenticeship programme has provided real employment opportunities for people looking to learn a new trade, with full training and support as well as the chance to earn while you learn.  We pride ourselves on providing a quality working environment, where you’ll be supported to reach your true potential and achieve a nationally recognised qualification.

Right now, our Building & Commercial Division, part of Newcastle City Council’s Communities Directorate is seeking applications from anyone interested in pursuing an apprenticeship in the following occupations:

  • Construction Technician
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Joinery
  • Plastering
  • Bricklaying
  • Vehicle Mechanic
  • Business Development

We’re also looking to fill a number of pre-apprenticeship opportunities in various construction trades.

We’re looking for enthusiastic, hard-working individuals that want to make the most of an apprenticeship opportunity and we’re happy to receive applications from anyone, regardless of gender identity, relationship status, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or belief.  In terms of education, we’re looking for individuals who have at least 3 GCSE’s Grade C or above, including Maths, English and one science although for Pre-apprenticeships, you need no formal qualifications as you will be expected to complete a basic qualification in Maths and English as part of your study programme.


These opportunities will be advertised with North East Jobs from Friday 23 May 2014 until Friday 6 June.  During this time, you can download a full job description, a person specification and an application form from www.

Anyone interested in applying must complete an application form and return it to us by post (email applications will NOT be accepted).   Applications should be sent to the address below to arrive no later than Friday 13 June 2014. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

Paul Maddison
Apprentice Manager
Allendale Road
Newcastle NE6 2SZ
Newcastle City Council

Top 10 easiest to grow fruit and vegetables

Friday, March 21st, 2014

So, last time we talked about planning your ‘Edible Garden’ and the things you should consider such as which fruit, veg and herbs you might use the most and how much of each you are likely to need in your garden to see you through the season.

If you are still uncertain of what you want to grow and just want to start with something simple then here are some of the easiest-to-grow crops for you to consider.

Salad Leaves

Mixed fresh leaves have a fantastic range of textures and flavours. You can sow a salad mix throughout the summer months and start to use the leaves just 3 weeks later.  They also continue growing so you can harvest them again and again throughout the season.


Radishes are easy to grow in pots and you can also sow them directly into the ground throughout the summer for a succession of crops. Roots are ready to harvest in about four weeks from sowing so sow little and often every two weeks throughout summer for a constant crop for salads.


Plant potatoes during March in potato bags that are only part filled with compost. When the green shoots begin to appear above the soil, simply cover them with more compost. Repeat this until the bag is full and all you need to do then is remember to water them. Potatoes are easy and satisfying to grow, yielding a great harvest below ground. There is a huge range of varieties available, varying in shape, size, colour and use.


Sow peas directly into the ground from March to June and look forward to the amazing sweet flavour of freshly picked peas from June to August. Pick them as soon as they are ready and eat straight away for the best flavour.  The great thing about peas is that the more you pick, the more they grow so you will have a plentiful supply throughout the summer.


Mint will grow on almost any moist soil but it can overtake the garden so it’s best to keep it in a pot to stop it spreading too far. You can use freshly picked leaves in salads, with potatoes or use them to make your own mint sauce!  Freshly picked mint leaves are great in summer cocktails too! You can also freeze the leaves in ice cubes to use later on.


Onions are so simple to grow and require little maintenance.  Plant onion bulbs on well drained soil in spring or autumn then just leave them! In late summer when the foliage yellows and dies back, pull them up and dry them out in the sun.  Store them in a dry, cool place such as a garage and they will keep for anywhere between a few weeks up to a few months depending on variety.


Tomato plants are quick and easy to grow.  To save space in your green house, you can grow them in hanging baskets or window boxes if you choose to grow a bush variety.  Bush tomatoes limit their own height of growth and require little maintenance since there is no need to pinch out side-shoots.  The bush varieties also work extremely well as outdoor plants because they don’t usually need any supports.


Beetroot is another easy-to-grow vegetable which can be sown directly into moist ground from March to July. Between May and September you can harvest your own colourful beetroot. Use it in soups, salads and chutneys or it can be pickled, roasted or even used as a good base for home made wine due to its high sugar content. Sow beetroot little and often and harvest it when it is young, tender and about the size of a golf ball.


Carrots are one of the easiest and tastiest crops to grow and with so many varieties of this popular vegetable available, carrots can be grown in beds, containers and even window boxes making them suitable for gardens of any size.  Ensure there is enough depth of soil and that the soil is light, well-drained and free of any rocks, stones or debris which could cause stunted or forked carrots.


Spinach can be grown all year round and produces large yields of leaves rich in vitamins which can be used in salads and cooking.  Spinach can either be sown in spring for a summer crop, or in the autumn for leaves to pick over winter.  Perpetual Spinach is a ‘cut-and-come-again’ crop which does just what it says on the packet so you will have a plentiful supply!  Hot weather and long days can however make some spinach bolt quickly. Don’t let plants flower as this will shorten your cropping season. Picking off flower heads encourages the plant to grow leaves, not flowers.

Start you own ‘Edible Garden’

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

So why have your own vegetable garden?

Well firstly, there is nothing like the taste of home-grown fruit and veg!  Whether you are sowing from seed or buying a small plant to start you off, when you pick your first crop, peel those delicious carrots, parsnips & potatoes, chop those juicy cucumbers, tomatoes & courgettes and sprinkle your sweet, red strawberries with sugar, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you have planted, nurtured and produced it all yourself!  And of course, growing your own is a great way to save money on the ever-increasing food bills we all seem to be experiencing.

Growing vegetables at home can also be a fun way to spend time with children, who are much more likely to eat the fruit and vegetables they have had a part in growing.  The garden is also a great place to get away from it all, keep yourself fit and healthy (you use a lot of muscles digging, weeding and bending to tend to your crops) as well as a relaxing way to spend time outdoors in the sun.

Planning and growing a vegetable garden is much easier than you think. You don’t even need a garden.  Growing fruit and veg in pots, containers or hanging baskets, on a patio, deck or windowsill is a great way to start as well as a good way of transforming brick & concrete spaces into a lovely green area.

So what should you grow?

The advice I would give to beginners would be to start small and not risk overwhelming yourself.  Thinking about what and how much you usually buy in the fruit and veg aisle in the supermarket is a good way to begin planning.  Remember that some fruit, veg and herbs such as tomatoes, courgettes, sugar snap peas, mint and summer salad leaves for example  keep providing throughout the season so you might not need as many plants to keep you going.  Others, such as carrots, parsnips, and corn produce only once so you might need more of these.

Remember, you don’t need a large space to start off.  Make use of upright sacks to grow potatoes, patio containers for courgettes and spinach, hanging baskets for strawberries and tomatoes, areas next to fences or trellis for peas and windowsills for salad leaves then save the ground for deeper growing or large spreading vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips and carrots.

Some meals to get you thinking about what you want to grow:

Vegetable accompaniments to meat dishes: Parsnips, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip & shallots

Salads: Tomatoes, cucumber, rocket, spinach, basil, sweetcorn & red onions

Casseroles: Sage, rosemary & thyme

Stir fry: Courgette, sugar snap peas, carrots, asparagus, garlic, peppers & chilis

Breakfast smoothies, desserts or summer cocktails: Raspberries, strawberries & mint

Chutneys, sauces & stuffing: Mint, tomatoes, sage & onions

So, now it’s over to you.  Take the time to sit down and plan what you want to grow in the space you have and using the time you have free to tend to your future crops and wait for our next article, which will show you the next steps towards your ‘Edible Garden’.

Watch this space…..

BFE’s Gardening Team spring into action as the warmer weather approaches

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

With warmer weather just around the corner, what better way to kick start the Spring than with an overhaul of the outdoor space around your home or workplace!

Our Gardening & Environmental Team provide a number of services to local homes and businesses in and around Newcastle so why not give us a call today for a free, no obligation quotation.  Call Caroline on 0191 263 2752 or email for further information and we will be happy to help.

Here are some of the services we offer…

Printable Poster – Environmental Maintenance Services

Environmental Maintenance Services for businesses & homes - Building Futures East

Environmental Maintenance Services for businesses & homes - Building Futures East

The gorgeous climbing rose arch lights up at night with little fairly lights

This solar water feature provides a tranquil centre-piece to this garden

This area of anti-slip decking makes for a lovely place to soak up the afternoon sun with a book and a cup of tea!

A nice place to sit for a rest looking out over the gardens

This rockery has the effect of having a stream flowing through it

Building Futures East's Environmental Maintenance Team do an amazing job of keeping gardens and green areas in our local communities looking great