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Uxbridge College students were among learners from Hillingdon who joined forces in a campaign to help combat hate crime and extremism.
The Level 2 Creative Media and Art & Design students created posters and video infomercials for the Hillingdon Voices United project - facilitated by the Stronger Communities team at the London Borough of Hillingdon - which were shared at a showcase evening at Brunel University London. Level 3 Journalism and Creative Writing students from the college also took part, producing poems challenging hate, and presentations on keeping safe on social media. Learners from Creative Writing and Music at Brunel University London, and Hillingdon Adult and Community Learning, were also involved.
Participants, friends and family, and partner organisations came along to the event to celebrate the successful project and see the final collection of work, which also includes lesson plans which can be used by other learners, as well as documentary films. The work will form part of a community learning resource to be utilised by other schools and local community organisations.
Dr Darrell DeSouza, Vice Principal of HCUC (Harrow College Uxbridge College, the merged college group for the two organisations), who attended the event, said: “It was great to see the fabulous, real-project work that was carried out with learners from Uxbridge College and local schools through the Stronger Communities partnership’s Hillingdon Voices United Project. All the work was of a really high standard and for a really good local and national cause. Congratulations to all the staff, students and partners involved in making this project such a success.”
The Uxbridge College students worked in small teams on their assignment for seven weeks to create the resources to help raise awareness of hate crimes and how to report them. Whilst working on the project, students investigated a wide range of hate crimes, including knife crime, islamophobia and homophobia.
Lyn Stevenson, Media Lecturer at Uxbridge College, said: “Whilst working through the project our students bonded as a group and applied the respect and tolerance they were learning to their own personal development. The students applied a high level of technical and creative skills for their stage of learning, and matured during the project into respectful, kind-natured young adults. I am extremely proud of the work they produced and of the increasingly thoughtful and respectful people they are developing into.”
The project aimed to strengthen community cohesion, build resilience and improve community relations, enabling the local community to work together to raise awareness of the issues around hate crime and extremism and how to tackle them. The work also encouraged participants to feel confident in challenging hate and discrimination and to promote greater understanding, respect and unity.
Hillingdon Voices United was also supported by the Stronger Communities Partnership, a group of representatives from local community partners such as the police, learning providers, charities and other local community organisations, and the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
Uxbridge College students were inspired to express themselves in art as part of a mental health and well-being programme provided by Arts for Life Project and NHS Hillingdon Clinical Commissioning Group.
Arts for Life staff worked with around 80 A Level, GCSE and Vocational Science students from Uxbridge College’s Sixth Form Centre, using paint and mixed media to help them create their own pieces based on themes including nature and animals. The final pieces were auctioned off at college, raising a total of £300 which will go towards running another art session for students.
A total of 30 college staff also received a two-day emotional well-being training delivered by Arts for Life, teaching them to better recognise and address the signs of stress and emotional challenges in themselves and their students, and further training is due to take place in the autumn. The Association of Colleges’ Week of Action - 13-17 May - also sees the launch of its Mental Health & Well-being Charter which Uxbridge College has signed up to. The charter backs work by colleges across the UK to provide the best possible support for good mental health for staff and students.
Kiran Rami, Head of Guidance & Student Support, who led on the project at Uxbridge College, said: “It was great for students, particularly those who might not have had much experience with creative projects, to feel the positive benefits of taking part in this kind of activity, and it was really useful for staff to learn more about understanding and managing mental health. Uxbridge College really appreciates having had the chance to work with the NHS and the Arts for Life Project on this.”
John Beckles, Children and Young Peoples Emotional Well-being/Mental Health Commissioner from NHS Hillingdon Clinical Commissioning Group, which provided funding for the training and arts workshops at Uxbridge College, said: “This programme has successfully developed a whole college approach to emotional well-being and mental health which will provide early identification, intervention and support for students with emotional well-being and mental health issues. This will help to develop an understanding of how staff and students at the college can work together to effectively manage emotional well-being and mental health issues”.
Jacqui Dennaford, Director, Arts For Life Project, said: "We were delighted to be asked to participate in this valuable and much-needed pilot programme. The outcomes have far exceeded our expectations and the feedback and follow through from both staff and students has begun to filter through the college. The charity was welcomed and supported by all partners in the programme and looks forward to developing the programme for further reach in the months ahead."
NHS Hillingdon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is responsible for buying and arranging health services in Hillingdon including community health and hospital services.
Arts for Life Project is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company which runs workshops and support programmes through schools and college to support young people’s mental and emotional well-being. It runs group arts sessions, mental health training and one-to-one support for young people, their families, and teachers, tutors and lecturers.
As part of Uxbridge College, the Uxbridge College Sixth Form Centre provides a range of A Level, GCSE and Vocational Science programmes. Sixth Form Centre students progress on to a range of future study programmes and career paths, including going on to Higher Education courses including to University.
Young people from in and around the borough checked out their future study options at Uxbridge College’s Higher Education Fair which showcased around 65 universities.
The event at Uxbridge College’s Uxbridge campus on 25 April was open to both college students and school students from in and around Hillingdon borough and west London. The fair hosted representatives from organisations including prestigious Russell Group universities and specialist providers.
This was the ninth annual Higher Education Fair at Uxbridge College and welcomed around 1,000 Visitors.
Students, parents and friends visited stalls and spoke to university staff during the event at the College’s Uxbridge campus in Park Road. This was followed by an information evening covering a range of options after A Level and BTECs, including going to University and Apprenticeships including Higher Apprenticeships. There was also an opportunity to talk to specialist Apprenticeship staff from West Met Skills, which works directly with employers.
Kiran Rami, Head of Guidance & Student Support at Uxbridge College, said: “Uxbridge College was very pleased to welcome so many universities on site at this event which has been growing steadily since it began nine years ago, and to be giving both our own students and those from local schools the chance to come along and find out more about their Higher Education options. It was a great success and we are certainly planning to continue with the event going forward.”
Among those universities attending were: Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff universities, and King’s College London and Queen Mary University of London from the Russell Group; dozens of other HE institutions from all over the country including Brunel University London, Bournemouth University, Pearson College, and Middlesex University; specialist providers including Echo Factory (music performance and music business), Medway School of Pharmacy, Ravensbourne College of Art and Design, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of Creative Arts, University of Law and University College of Osteopathy.
Uxbridge College also provided information about its own Higher Education qualifications - HNCs and HNDs - which can offer a route for students into ‘top up’ degrees, on which qualifying students can join an honours degree at university in the final year.
Uxbridge College’s Careers Guidance Team, a professional careers service accredited to the Matrix quality standard for information, advice and guidance, was on hand to provide advice on all options.