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#LoveOurColleges: South & City College supporting the local Covid-19 response

South & City College Birmingham

With 2020 being a year like no other, South & City College, along with many other colleges around the country, have stepped up to help out those in need. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, students and staff have been doing what they can to help those in the community. Whether this be donating food to the vulnerable, making PPE for the NHS or creating fun tutorials.

To celebrate the final day of Colleges Week 2020, here are some examples of how we’ve been supporting the local response to COVID-19 during lock-down.

Letters to care homes

Just before the college closed, students on our Environmental course were due to be out on a trip, which was cancelled due to Covid-19. They decided to use their time to do something positive by writing letters to residents of a local care home, who may have been feeling lonely without visitors. Our students wrote about what they do for fun and sent good wishes to the residents. A lovely way to think of others during a crisis.

Catering lecturer keeps staff and students busy with recipes

Catering lecturer Chris Smith took time during lockdown to produce recipe videos to help his students and give staff some home cooking inspiration! Pancakes, Moroccan fish and artisan chocolate bars all featured, and he’s made sure to keep the recipes suitable for all cooking abilities, so no one is left out. Go Chris!

Head Chef helping with food drops for the vulnerable

Fahmida Gire, Head Chef at South & City College, spent time volunteering for her local mosque, which has been providing food parcels during the crisis. Fahmida delivered parcels to those who are very vulnerable, people self-isolating with no one to help, or NHS workers struggling to get to the shops. A great effort – well done Fahmida.

Keeping fit with Roger

Enrichment Assistant Roger Springer spent time making easy-to-follow workout tutorials for all those in our Supported Learning department, who know how helpful seeing a familiar face can be in getting active! Students and their families have loved the workouts and we all know there are loads of great benefits to keeping active during this time.

College uses its industrial sewing machines to make NHS grade scrubs

South & City Fashion & Textiles staff and student volunteers kept themselves busy making medical grade, reversible scrubs as part of a West Midlands community campaign started by soft furnishings company Loft 25 and Green Lane Mosque in Small Heath.

Medical-grade scrubs need to be made using industrial sewing machines, so when Fashion Tutor Carmen Burkett heard the call for volunteers across Birmingham, she saw the opportunity for staff and students to put the otherwise idle machines to good use.
Students from Level 2, 3 and HND courses volunteered to help and continued until the college reopened.

Fashion student Charlene Franklin said, “Working on the Loft 25 project with the South & City College group has been fun and inspiring. I am grateful that I am able to help and do my part during this pandemic by offering my skills and time to make a difference. Keep fighting NHS, the nation has your back.”

Saleem Ahmed, Marketing and PR Manager for this campaign, said, “Our campaign is very grateful to the hard work and community spirit of the staff and students of South & City College. It’s vital that we are able to continue to make much needed PPE, whilst there is still a need.”

College Catering Team donates unused food to those in need and less fortunate

South & City College has many campuses across Birmingham, all with food courts, so when college campuses were closed at short notice due to the pandemic, we made the easy decision to donate the food to local charities that were close to our campuses.
The food included frozen food with a reasonable shelf life. Some charities were additionally given food-grade personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and aprons. Also West Mercia and West Midlands Police were given a load of cakes, cookies and biscuits for them to distribute to the homeless and charities.

Bordesley Green campus kitchens were cleared first and food donated to Vanguard Carnegie Centre in Hockley, just a little way from our Handsworth campus. Food from Hall Green has also gone to the centre. This hostel centre provides a safe space for homeless teenagers and provides support as a stepping stone to independent living.

Next on the kitchen clear out list was our Digbeth campus, and together with a college In-Business member and Subway franchisee, Aksar Khan, food supplies were given out to the homeless in Digbeth, residents in Bordesley Green who have fallen on hard times, and to Dorothy Terry Nursing home in Redditch.

The nursing home is a 62-bed charitable trust residential centre and was unable to get a delivery of food from a supermarket for a couple of weeks due to increased demand. Thankfully our delivery will have seen them through. A family member of a resident said: "We are so thankful for the kind donations of food from South & City College to the residents of Dorothy Terry Nursing home. It will definitely help in these desperate times of need and bring joy to the residents.”

Longbridge (Bournville College) campus kitchens were next to be cleared with the food donated to the Salvation Army Food Distribution Centre in Aston. The Salvation Army Centre provides a food bank service to provide emergency food parcels on presentation of a voucher from a referral agency.

Food also went to Regency Care Home in Bromsgrove and Village Court Assisted Living Centre in Kitts Green and Shard End.

Jules Tye, Head of Events, Catering & Conferencing, who went out and delivered the supplies across the city, said: “It has been good to feel like we are doing something during these unprecedented times. The College is a big part of the community, so of course we are going to step-up where we can.”