News & Press
Uxbridge College has continued to support its students and local communities in diverse and innovative ways as our country continues to respond to the challenges of the coronavirus.
Between official activity and individual volunteering efforts, the college has been supporting health workers, coronavirus sufferers and other members of the community affected by the outbreak, whilst ensuring it provides maximum opportunities for students through creative adaptations.
Dr Darrell DeSouza, Group Principal of Uxbridge College and the merged college group HCUC said: “I continue to be humbled by the sheer commitment and innovation of staff and students in continuing to support their communities and keep learning on track in the face of so much challenge and change. Like individuals, families and organisations across the globe, the college and its students and staff have been seriously impacted by the Coronavirus in so many ways, yet this has brought out the best in many. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone for their continuing efforts.”
Activities for the community have included:
* Fashion Technician Marie Emerson, and Creative Studies Attendance Co-ordinator Sue Reeve, have been making scrubs, masks, hats and bags for NHS staff mainly at Watford General and Northwick Park hospitals, local care homes and Bluebird Care over the last 10 weeks. Using donated fabric including unwanted duvet covers - Marie set up a Facebook page to invite donations - they’ve made 275 scrub bags, 45 sets of scrubs, 120 scrub hats, and 310 masks for our critical workers and are continuing to sew. Marie has also made video tutorials and sent out patterns so people can help, as well as taking packs of fabrics and elastics to a few people so they can get involved.
Marie said: “It's been amazing to be able to use my skills to help so many people - it's been a real experience.”
* Harpal Lehal, Head of Apprenticeships and Skills for West Met Skills, the Employer Services arm of HCUC, the merged college group for Uxbridge College and Harrow College, has joined her daughter Carmel and others in collecting material and sewing 200+ scrubs bags for NHS workers as part of the national ‘For the Love of Scrubs’ campaign through the Hillingdon Work Group.
* In response to an SOS call from Age UK HHB (Hillingdon, Harrow & Brent) the college has provided overshoes, face masks, hand sanitiser, aprons and gloves. The PPE items will be used by home visiting teams, community physios and office staff on rotas, all involved in the charity’s work to support elderly people. The items would normally have been used by the college’s Health and Social Care students.
CEO of Age UK HHB Julian Lloyd said: “The last 10 weeks have been phenomenally challenging for Age UK in Hillingdon, as with so many local agencies, we have been doing our best to mobilise efforts to support the most vulnerable members of our society during the pandemic. For older people the key issues have been social isolation, access to food and medications and safe discharge from hospital. Age UK HHB has been providing support to older residents of Hillingdon in all these areas. Critical for our ability to safely support older people has been access to PPE. Uxbridge College offered us PPE free of charge at a time when PPE was like gold dust! This generous support ensured our staff, volunteers and older clients were kept safe whilst we delivered vital relief efforts in the borough.”
* Staff including Dental Nursing Tutor & Assessor Nicole Da Silva and Sue Reeve were among many who signed up as Royal Voluntary Services NHS Volunteers, with tasks including picking up shopping and medication and delivering it, and providing phone support to help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Sue has also been delivering food packs for Ealing Hospital.
Students and work-based learners such as Apprentices have also continued to learn and serve the community in a variety of ways, including:
* Dental Nursing Apprentice Saranjeet Kaur Soni who was selected to continue work on the frontline as her dental practice remained open as a central hub for referrals from other practices which were closed. Whilst continuing work at The White House Dental Practice in Southall, she has had to learn new methods of working in accordance with new regulations, seeing emergency patients for extractions and first stage root canal treatments referred by surrounding dental practices which are only open for remote triage.
Saranjeet said: “During these unpredictable times, it is sometimes overwhelming and scary to be a frontline worker, as we are getting a lot of exposure and risking not only our health but also the lives of our loved ones at home. However, no matter how hard times are, I am proud to be working in an Urgent Hub as we are helping patients that are in pain and have nowhere else to go.”
* West Met Skills has continued to maintain 654 live Apprentices on their books, with assessments and interviews being carried out remotely including through Zoom video link.
Across the college all areas have continued to provide high quality teaching and learning to students, adapting to the challenges of learning at home. Examples have included:
* Kelisse Whiting was among professional cookery students set tasks to cook full menus at home. The Level 1 - pre-GCSE - student designed and cooked a menu of fire-fried fish, Carribean coconut rice and kidney beans with fruits of the caribbean salsa, and deconstructed pina colada exotic cake for her family. Kelisse will be progressing to Level 2 in September.
* Feedback for Uxbridge College Sixth Form’s online teaching included: “a very high standard, both interesting and challenging, much needed qualities for studying at home.” Video calls were also on offer to go over work and check understanding.
* The college is also setting up a new website to showcase examples of the broad range of creative and academic work produced during the virtual teaching period.
* Uxbridge College has been running a series of Virtual Open Day events during June – for more details visit www.uxbridgecollege.ac.uk/opendays
Plans are continuing to support the safe return to campus of as many students as possible in line with Government requirements.
* For information about The Love of Scrubs Hillingdon go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/356884778542439/
Uxbridge College is gearing up for a series of ‘Virtual Open Day’ events from 4 June in the shape of live information sessions, Q&As, careers advice, and enrolment details.
The new ‘Virtual Open Days’ are designed to give parents and prospective students a chance to find out more about the fantastic range of options from September 2020 as school students make plans for what to do after GCSE.
The live and recorded events are being run on the Zoom video platform due to the current social distancing restrictions and are bookable online now. Virtual Open Day sessions are available for various subject areas - including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, Computing, Business, Hair and Beauty, Catering and Hospitality, Creative Arts and Media, Public Services, Sport, Travel and Tourism. They also include general information about college facilities and life.
Apprenticeship programmes will also be covered with a chance to find out more about the unique advantages of these earn-as-you-learn programmes.
From September 2020, Uxbridge College will be continuing to offer GCSEs, A Levels, the new T Levels - the technical equivalent of A Levels - and the whole range of skills-based qualifications including BTECs, City & Guilds, and University of the Arts London (UAL) creative subjects. Our HE technical vocational programmes will be delivered through the West London Institute of Technology based at our Uxbridge, Hayes and Harrow-on-the-Hill campuses with new facilities expected to be ready in September 2020.
Dr Darrell DeSouza (pictured right), Group Principal of Uxbridge College and the merged college group HCUC, said “Whilst it is difficult to convey the full excitement and engagement of student life at HCUC without currently being able to invite people onto campus, we are aiming to share as much as we can about the flavour and quality of studying at our two fantastic colleges going forward. Our talented staff have been so creative and innovative in continuing to offer high quality teaching and learning to our students during the remote learning period. Importantly, these high levels of teaching and support that our students have come to expect, provide links to so many great future opportunities - in college, at university, and in the workplace.”
Pat Carvalho Principal of Harrow College and Deputy CEO of HCUC: “I’m pleased to confirm we continue to offer a great range of very popular, high quality programmes for every level, full and part-time, for both young people and adults. It really is best to enrol now and secure a place at any of our campuses to ensure you are on the right track to employment, further study at college or university.”
School students getting ready for college in September can also download Uxbridge College ‘Get Ahead’ packs from the website. The packs contain a programme of activities and resources including links to educational videos and tasks such as creating posters and learning summaries.
Careers advice and information also continues to be made available on an ongoing basis with remote support including advice and guidance for learners applying to college and Zoom advice and information sessions for parents and learners. Young people can make contact through the college website, facebook, twitter, instagram, or email and phone.
* For more information about Virtual Open Days and to book sessions go to uxbridgecollege.ac.uk/opendays
* For more information about applications and enrolment go to uxbridgecollege.ac.uk/apply
* For Get Ahead packs go to uxbridgecollege.ac.uk/getahead
As part of ongoing community efforts during lockdown, Uxbridge College donated 1,000 branded small bottles of hand sanitisers to local care homes and health services, and bottles of water and Easter gifts to staff at Wexham Park Hospital as well as to Queen Mary’s Maternity Unit and Intensive Care Unit at West Middlesex University Hospital. A number of the students have parents and relatives working at the hospitals.
The hand sanitisers were originally ordered as giveaways for Healthy College Week, and Uniformed Public Services students paid for and wrapped small gifts and donated boxes of chocolate bars and bottles of water. Hospital staff made a video of images of staff with their gifts as a ‘thank you’ to the students. The students also made a video of themselves clapping and saying ‘thank you’ during the now regular weekly Thursday night ‘Clap for our Carers’ featuring Crimewatch presenter Rav Wilding, who also gave a talk to the students earlier this year.
The initiative to donate the hand sanitisers was organised by the student support team, who run Healthy College Week, who contacted local care homes that Uxbridge College works with. Annual Healthy College Week, which was due to take place at the end of April, includes a range of activities and events to support physical and mental health and wellbeing. This year students have been sent the Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook and other online resources, instead of taking part in the usual in-house activities.
Dr Darrell DeSouza, Principal of Uxbridge College and HCUC, headed out in mask and gloves, with Kiran Rami, Head of Guidance and Student Services, to make the deliveries.
Dr DeSouza said: “It means a lot to us at Uxbridge College and HCUC to be able to make even a small contribution to our care services during this incredibly difficult and stressful time. If we can do anything to raise a smile amongst our amazing health workers or to support efforts to stop the spread of the virus, there is no question whatsoever that we are going to do it. And it’s even better if we can make it part of our students’ learning and personal growth as with the Public Services students taking the initiative with the donations to Wexham Park Hospital staff - I’d definitely like to give them a shoutout!”
The Uniformed Public Service students gained volunteering hours for organising the donations, and are also planning a sponsored run which they will do individually during their daily exercise periods.
The hand sanitisers were given to:
Sweetcroft Residential Care Home in Hillingdon
Woodlands Care Home in Ickenham
Cedar Brook GP Practice in Hayes
Aston House Care Home in Hayes
New Horizon Care Home in Hayes
West London NHS Trust – Limes Dementia service
Franklin House Care Home in West Drayton
Additional collections were also made by Age UK, West London NHS Trust, Care UK, and Age UK Hillingdon, Harrow & Brent.
To see the Clap for Carers video go to https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2283803055055347