Health and social care students at West Nottinghamshire College gave a bumper collection of produce and cash to two local charities before breaking up for the summer holidays.

Level one health and social care students have been working diligently on a social project for their learning company. Learning companies have been introduced across a range of the college’s curriculum areas to provide students with a variety of employability skills such as teamwork, marketing, sales and fundraising.

This group chose the town’s Beacon Project and Mansfield Soup Kitchen as their local charities to raise funds and produce for.

After marketing their charitable activities to fellow students and staff, the groups launched a request for food, drink, toiletries and clothing – all essential items that Mansfield’s Beacon Project need for their service users. The group contacted the charity to find out exactly what their needs were and tailored their collections around that.

Their second mission to help was to raise as much money as possible for the Mansfield Soup Kitchen, to enable them to continue their volunteer-led group which feeds the town’s homeless each Wednesday evening from its Church Street premises.

The students wrote to a number of local businesses and organisations asking for their help in donating prizes and vouchers which they put towards a raffle. The group successfully collected over 30 prizes from the locality which included a £50 and £20 Amazon vouchers, framed pictures, make-up boxes, Sunday lunch for two at The Red Bar and Grill in Mansfield, a meal at the college’s Refined restaurant and many more.

A total of £264.60 was raised through the raffle and the proceeds were divided between Mansfield Soup Kitchen and The Beacon Project, situated behind St John’s Church.

Louisa Hillman, manager of The Beacon Project, visited the students before they finished for the end-of-term. Students presented Louisa with boxes of donated clothing, toiletries and food which were both donated and purchased.

Louisa said: “This is just amazing. Everything that these students has collected is very much appreciated and will benefit our service users so much.

“We’ve really struggled getting food in bulk during the pandemic and donations have really reduced as people in the community are all struggling themselves. It’s great to receive this cash donation and all of these brilliant products. It’s not just about collecting food because our service users need toiletries such as wipes and sun cream – such a wide range of things that people don’t always think about.

“At The Beacon Project we endeavour to do all we can to help the homeless as well as people who have just found accommodation and need a helping start, and for individuals who are facing eviction.”

Health and social care tutor Kat Baker said: “This group have worked incredibly hard on their learning company project to help these two well-known charities. Not only have they employed some remarkable business and marketing skills to achieve what they have, but they’ve shown the caring and empathetic characteristic which are so important for those wishing to enter careers in health and social care.

“They’ve really exceeded our expectations and I think their own, in just what greatness they can achieve when they make teamwork and thoughtfulness their mission.”

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