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Students show community support during annual celebration of Volunteers Week

A number of learners from Stoke on Trent College are celebrating Volunteers Week (3-9 June), by taking part in a series of community initiatives.

Foundation Studies learners will be supporting the annual Growthpoint Open Day, on Tuesday 4 June, where they will be helping with serving food and manning stalls across the site at Cauldon Allotments.

Growthpoint is a community based recreational, vocational and multi-craft-based project for adults with mental health needs.

The group will continue their work with the Port Vale Foundation, with their weekly visit to Vale Park on Friday 7 June, to help out with ground maintenance, which includes cleaning supporter areas and helping staff with different tasks.

Matt Hancock, CEO at Port Vale Football Club said:

“We really look forward to welcoming the volunteers from Stoke on Trent college to Vale Park each week . Being in a position to offer first-hand experience with our Foundation and stadium teams is really rewarding and will hopefully prove to be really valuable for the team of volunteers.

“The work and commitment of all volunteers here at Port Vale cannot be understated and is integral to the club as we prepare for next season; I’d like to thank them all, on behalf of the football club, for taking the time to join us.”

The Foundation Studies learners also help out with cleaning and upkeep of the canal network near the Cauldon campus of the college working alongside the Canal and River Trust.

Carl Kelsall, Volunteer Leader at the Canal and River Trust said:

“Working with Stoke on Trent College has provided the student the opportunity to work with a different kind of employment provider. They have seen different aspects of the canal, not only local to the College but have visited rural sites which can be a challenge for some who may not have been outside Stoke-on-Trent.

“The College has clearly seen benefits, not only for the students in their personal development, but also for the local environment as we are noticing a reduction in litter in many of the areas we are working in. Alongside this there is, in many of the students a realisation that heritage and environment are a key part of our local community, and they have realised the benefits the outdoor spaces we have can offer to their own wellbeing, whilst providing future life and employability skills.”

Leah Forkin, who studies Level 2 Sports at the Cauldon campus, will also be volunteering at the upcoming Stoke Pride, which takes place on Saturday 15 June in Hanley Park.

Leah Forkin said:

“The reason why I have volunteered to help at Stoke Pride is because I have friends who are part of the LGBTQ+A community and I would like to show them my support. It would also be something new that I haven’t experienced before. The College attend Stoke Pride annually and I like to help out with College activities whenever I can both in College and out in the local community.”

Jorja Bridgwater, who studies Media & Production Level 2 at the Cauldon campus has been volunteering for St. John’s Ambulance for over 10 years, and covers high profile events such as Port Vale home games plus the Queen’s funeral last year.

Jorja Bridgwater said:

“A couple of my friends were volunteering at St. John’s Ambulance, so I just went along and really enjoyed and have carried it on. I see the crew as a second family, as we are all really close.

“I’ve seen people on the street who I may have helped in the past, and it’s a good feeling to know I’ve contributed their wellbeing. I see it as giving back to the community plus I am potentially helping to save lives.”

Lisa Capper MBE, CEO & Principal said:

“It’s fantastic to see so many of our learners continuing to give up their time to contribute to different areas in our community. Stoke on Trent College is proud to work with a number of community partners each year which offer our learners these opportunities. Volunteering continues to be a fantastic way for our learners to gain practical and valuable experience.”

Volunteers’ Week celebrates the amazing contributions volunteers make to communities across the UK.

Find out more about Volunteers Week at https://volunteersweek.org/.

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