20 October 2017

West Nottinghamshire College has received a prestigious accolade for its contribution to the local community and for supporting important causes.

The college has become the proud recipient of a Lord-Lieutenant’s Award for Promoting Voluntary Service.

The award was launched by the Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire Sir John Peace last year to recognise and celebrate schools and colleges that excel in promoting good citizenship and service to others. It is presented to those that make the most notable contribution to voluntary and charitable work in Nottinghamshire.

A special commemorative plaque and certificate were presented to college principal and chief executive Dame Asha Khemka DBE DL, staff from the wider-learning team and students that dedicate their time to volunteering, by Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire Col. Tim Richmond OBE TD DL and Deputy-Lieutenant Jean Pardoe OBE DL at a presentation at the college’s Derby Road campus, Mansfield.

The ceremony, on Wednesday 18 October, included presentations from students, who talked about how volunteering has enabled them to develop their personal, social and employability skills.

Painting and decorating student Martin Taylor, 19, spoke via video message, explaining that volunteering had helped him through a “tough time” in his life, and had boosted his confidence and work-related skills.

A-level student Sarah Maqbool told how she helped set-up the college’s first-ever equestrian society, WNC Equestrian, so fellow students could take part in weekly, subsidised horse-riding lessons while removing the financial barrier to participation.

The 21-year-old – who currently holds the college’s inaugural Sports Personality of the Year award – said: “The college provides so many ways to develop yourself in terms of extra-curricular activities. If you want to set up your own society or your own enterprise, you can do. There are many different opportunities available to help you really grow as a person, while contributing to your CV and the community.”

Sport and coaching student Oliver Hughes, 19 – the college’s current Volunteer of the Year – explained how he has dedicated more than 600 hours’ of volunteering at the college and in local schools, sports clubs and youth centres.

Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Col. Tim Richmond OBE TD DL, said: “The college is very deserving of this award. This is recognition by the Lord-Lieutenant, as the Queen’s representative in the county, and his way of saying thank you for the community service being done by students, and the way the college enables this to happen.

“We think it’s very important that people give something back and it’s wonderful that many are doing this at the start of their lives whilst they are students, and hopefully they’ll carry this on right through their careers.”

Student experience team-leader Robert Pearce said: “It was an honour to welcome the Vice Lord-Lieutenant and Deputy Lord-Lieutenant to the college and receive this prestigious award. It’s fantastic that the positive affect the college is making to students and the local community has been recognised in this way.

“I’m very thankful to everybody that makes this such a supportive environment for students to develop their personal and employability skills while contributing to worthy causes.

“It was a pleasure to hear from the students who spoke about how volunteering and citizenship activities had impacted on their lives, education and development. I’m sure this will inspire even more learners to take advantage of the huge variety of opportunities available here.”

More than 400 college students took part in volunteering last year – from charity fundraising activities, to community allotment work and providing support in nursing homes – while over 700 students got involved in a physical activity. Around 600 students participated in enterprise activities and learned how to set up a business, and over 300 young people took part in the college-run National Citizen Service (NCS) programme over the summer; completing 10,000 volunteering hours and raising £4,500 for various charities.

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