Wilberforce wins at inaugural National Awards Ceremony for the Sixth Form College Sector

July 11, 2017

Wilberforce wins at inaugural National Awards Ceremony for the Sixth Form College Sector

Wilberforce Sixth Form College is celebrating having been chosen to receive the inaugural national Sixth Form Colleges Association award for ‘Enrichment and Employability’.

Wilberforce Sixth Form College is celebrating having been chosen to receive the inaugural national Sixth Form Colleges Association award for ‘Enrichment and Employability’. The De Vere Jubilee Conference Centre, in Nottingham, was the setting for the SFCA Awards Ceremony, the first time an awards ceremony has been dedicated solely to the hard work and talent of staff at sixth form colleges and designed to showcase their exceptional practice.

Wilberforce Principal, David Cooper, was delighted to receive the award on behalf of the College from the Further Education Commissioner Richard Atkins in recognition of the innovative work of the College in preparing young people to secure places in higher Education and employment. The Award took particular note of the college’s ground-breaking “Seeds of Change” Project. This inclusive project encourages students to make healthy and positive lifestyle choices. Students are made aware of the origins of their food through allotments across the College site, and they even have the chance to eat this home grown produce on pizzas baked in the College’s own pizza oven.

“Our ‘Seeds of Change’ Project has become so successful it’s grown into several strands involving students and staff from right across the college. It’s truly achieved the original aims of identifying and challenging the consequences of choice on health and promoting healthy lifestyle choices by developing an entrepreneurial culture. The whole Wilberforce community now think more carefully about their food, health and lifestyle choices and to this end we are holding a Staff Wellbeing Day at the end of term.” comments Principal, David Cooper.

The project was launched in 2015 by creating an ‘Edible Campus’ with sponsorship gained from William Jackson Group. Bottle greenhouses and planted raised beds were created to grow fruit, veg and herbs across the Saltshouse Road site. With several successful funding bids from Hull Community Fund, KCOM Community Grant and the Big Lottery the project has moved onto more ambitious plans. These include a ‘Pop up Pizza’ Company, run by students utilising produce grown at Wilberforce plus a modular building, supplied by Space Projects UK Ltd, known as ‘The Union’ which acts as a hub, a place where students can hold meetings, concerts and carry out entrepreneurial activities.

‘Seeds of Change’ will culminate this year with a community food festival ‘F-east’ in September, to which local residents, primary school children, the elderly from nearby care homes and local businesses will be invited.
Social Science Teacher, Tim Blackburn, who has been the main instigator of the project with help from Study Support Manager, Jill Naylor, says….
‘I am delighted to have been involved with the Seeds of Change Project and to have received this national award. We are inspiring the next generation to look forward to a long and rewarding future. From September 2017 we will be encouraging even more of our young people, to celebrate life by joining in to grow, produce and sell ‘real’ food. Everybody wants to feel great and the best way to achieve this is by eating home grown goodness. All money made will be reinvested into developing The Union as a cool place for young adults to meet, relax and organise ways in which we can grow stronger together.”

The College was also runner-up in the category of ‘Curriculum Innovation’ for the work done by the Health Caring and Early Years Department in building links with local residential homes that have enabled students to develop their skills as care practitioners. Bill Watkin, chief executive of the SFCA, took the opportunity to congratulate all of the winners at the SCFA National Awards evening on 14th June, who, he said, were “examples of outstanding work”. He added: “Success doesn’t just happen, it is the result of very hard work and great team work.”

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