New College Swindon Commended by Association of Colleges Beacon Awards

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New College Swindon have been recognised by the Association of Colleges, for the work that they do to support wellbeing and mental health.

Each year the Association of Colleges Beacon Awards Programme puts forward a list of categories. This year, these included Support for Students award, British Council International award and Skills and Education Group Award for social mobility and widening participation. New College were entered into the category for the AoC Mental Health and Wellbeing award and were one of just eight colleges that were awarded a commendation.The college demonstrated a high level of innovation, impact and being sustainable.

The wellbeing initiative at New College was established in 2012. It provides an exclusive service with a designated space and mentors on hand to act as advocates for students with identified poor mental health.

Lizzy Edwards, Wellbeing Mentor said: “Our team work so hard and it is fantastic that the college is being recognised. Wellbeing is promoted across the college and it is embedded into our ethos, from tutorial sessions to the services provided by college nurses and counsellors. To have been commended is just another great way to support the work that the Wellbeing Team and New College do.” 

A Wellbeing room was introduced over five years ago. This initiative was designed to provide students who were referred to the service a quiet, safe space to access, with wellbeing mentors on hand to act as an advocate for students who need some extra guidance.

Wellbeing mentors have an extensive knowledge of internal and external services, and an excellent range of resources on hand for students to provide additional information about support services available to them.  New College provides core services including three Wellbeing Mentors, five College Counsellors, two College Nurses and a team of Safeguarding Officers. They are overseen by the Safeguarding Manager and work collaboratively to support students with mental ill health.

Sarah Howes, Additional Support Manager said: “I am very proud of the team who are well-deserving of national recognition for the support provided for students with mental ill health.  We are in the middle of a national mental health crisis, and it is good to know that we have been able to make a positive difference for some young people living in and around Swindon.  The awards also provide an opportunity for other colleges to find out from the successful award winning and commended colleges what they are doing to support young people with mental ill health and to share good practice.”

A learner at New College, commented: “Psychiatric wards kept me alive, therapy taught me how to cope with life and college helped me to want to live my life and love it.  I will be leaving college with a level head, a positive outlook and strong desire to live my life.”