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Students’ ‘inspirational’ community projects awarded

Students’ ‘inspirational’ community projects awarded

On Tuesday 1 July 2014 Coleg Gwent students were among 70 young people from across the UK  recognised for their inspirational work in helping others.

The Diana Awards are presented to inspirational or socially active young people who have made a positive difference to the lives of others and their communities.

The group of 15 inspirational young people aged 16-25 with learning disabilities from Coleg Gwent’s Crosskeys Campus were presented with the Active Campaigner Award at a national award ceremony in London for investing their time to help improve the lives of others.

Coleg Gwent Independent Living Skills (ILS) tutor Victoria English nominated the Crosskeys Campus students for their remarkable and wide-ranging community and charity work. Supporting testimonials were given by Chris Evans MP for Islwyn, TÅ· Hafan Children’s Hospice and Mencap, who experienced the dedication of Coleg Gwent students first-hand.

In his supporting statement for the students’ Diana Award nomination, Chris Evans MP for Islwyn, said: “Since being elected Member of Parliament for Islwyn in 2010 I have had the opportunity to witness the tremendous work the Independent Living Students carry out for the Caerphilly Community. Their fundraising activities alone have helped to raise thousands of pounds for local charities and many other worthwhile causes. I believe they are excellent role models to all young people.”

A recent project by the ILS students - applauded both by Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey and Welsh Assembly Ministers - included making a joint film with learning disability charity Mencap which raised awareness of disability hate crime and was screened in the Houses of Parliament to disability campaigner Lord Rix and shadow ministers. 

The documentary in which the students filmed, performed, interviewed well-known personalities about Language and Disability was shown at All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Learning Disability on Wednesday 18th June.  The students interviewed Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Broadcaster and Disabled rights Activist Mik Scarlet amongst others. The aim of the film was to raise awareness about the damage that negative language aimed at disabled people does.

The Coleg Gwent students have become Mencap Inspire Ambassadors and were also chosen as Role Models for a government campaign, entitled Disabled Young People Overcoming Barriers.

Locally students have made a real difference to their own community in Caerphilly by raising funds through events and enterprise activity for TÅ· Hafan Children’s Hospice, Neuro Foundation, and Women’s Refuge.

The group have helped improve the local environment by litter picking on a regular basis. They have also been instrumental in the setting up of a thriving Fruit and Vegetable Co-operative, offering good quality low cost fruit and vegetables to their local community.

The caring students have worked closely with the local food bank collecting huge amounts of food and raising awareness of its existence on campus.

Thinking globally as well as locally, students are working closely with international charity Free the Children and have also raised money for children in Syria.

ILS tutor Victoria English said: “It’s a fitting award as they really are an inspiration, regularly putting aside their own challenges for the benefit of others with such enthusiasm and positivity. The students are incredibly generous with their time and energy, and are always thinking of those less fortunate than themselves.

“Students are very proud to have their efforts recognised nationally, especially highlighting their amazing campaigning against disability hate crime, which is a subject they feel very passionately about.”

Ambassador Kate Hardcastle presented the Diana Anti-Bullying Champion and Active Campaigner Awards.

For more information on Independent Living Skills courses at Coleg Gwent, see our ILS pages or call our admissions team on 01495 333777.



News article originally published 10th July 2014
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