A BRIDPORT craftsman is getting set to put his creativity and skills to the test when he lends a hand to the redevelopment of a Scottish stately home.

Sam Rowland-Simms, former pupil at the Sir John Colfox Academy is taking part in a live build project at Dumfries House in Ayrshire, starting next week and running until October. The building was safeguarded 10 years ago by Prince Charles in order to be used to help people engage in learning experiences that promote confidence and personal development, as well as offer training in skills to open up future employment opportunities.

Sam, 26, has already experienced life at Dumfries House, having spent time there last month to complete a summer school, which, like the live build, is a programme run by The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community (PFBC).

This year, summer school students have prepared plans for a new gatehouse at Culzean Castle, also in south west Scotland, and next week, Sam and his live build teammates will be responsible for the construction of the latest addition to Dumfries House estate, which is a series of pergolas designed to offer comfort and shelter to some of the 130,000 visitors who enjoy the grounds each year.

Sam said: “I didn’t know quite what to expect, but the estate is really impressive.

“You look at the other buildings that have been built as part of the live build in previous years, and they’re really impressive. It’s about striking the balance between impressive and functional.

"I learned a lot of new skills as part of the summer school, and I’m looking forward to using them on the live build. I’ve never done work like this before that involves a range of skills, and it’s really interesting. It will be great to lend a hand to the new development at Dumfries House.”

The aim of the summer school is to teach professionals, graduates, and the public how traditional and sustainable building crafts can be applied today in order to design, build and preserve sustainable communities. In previous years, participants in the summer school have designed structures that now take pride of place at Dumfries House estate, and those designs are brought to life in a Live Build programme.

Kenneth Dunsmuir, executive director of Dumfries House, said: “We were delighted to welcome to Dumfries House estate a talented group of Summer School participants, many of whom will return here to undertake the latest exciting development in our grounds.

"Many of the buildings here are monuments to the creativity and exceptional skill of previous participants of the PFBC Live Build programme, and there is great anticipation of how this year’s group will leave their legacy on the estate.”