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/