Lifeskills students from Banbury and Bicester College launched a heart-warming project this winter, in a bid to help those in the community without a stable home this Christmas and beyond.
As part of their supported learning course, students launched the project by creating the name ‘A heart of Gold to help with the cold’ and took action to produce warmth bundles and hand-woven waterproof sleeping mats for those in need.
A plea was put out on social media and students received an incredible response from the public who donated hats, scarves, gloves, blankets, thick socks and unused plastic carrier bags. Items were dropped off at a donation station set up by the students at the college campus.
Students constructed large wooden weaving looms and tirelessly worked to make durable, waterproof sleeping mats, to be distributed to those spending the winter period out in the cold. The mats, designed to be waterproof, warm and lightweight also contributed to the student’s and Activate Learning’s ongoing passion for sustainability and reusability of used plastic.
A representative from Connections, a charity set up to help solve homelessness, joined the students at Banbury college to deliver an inciteful talk on homelessness in the area and then with great appreciation, took receipt of the warmth bundles and sleep mats created by the students. These were then offered to those in need at the Beacon centre in Banbury, a drop-in centre for people who are homeless, poorly housed or socially excluded.
Project-based learning making a difference
Kate Johnson, Supported Learning teacher at Banbury and Bicester College said: “I am incredibly proud of our learners for their drive and determination to help those in the community less fortunate and contribute to change.
“To identify a way in which to raise awareness, help others and execute their ideas with such purpose is a gift and a skill and one which these remarkable young people demonstrated once again.”
Leila and Becky, Supported learning students at the Banbury College, said: “We loved taking part in this project. We worked really hard and felt very proud of what we achieved to help those in need.
“We were shocked to learn how many people didn’t have a home and had to sleep outside and we hope that what we have made brings comfort to the people who need it in the cold and wet months.”
Supporting the local community in Banbury
Kirsty, North Outreach Support Worker at Connection Support, said: “It was really heart-warming to see how much effort and compassion the students had put into the homeless project. The mattresses they made by hand from carrier bags were absolutely incredible, and surprisingly comfortable! The students told me that the first one took a whole week to make!
“Out of all the projects they could have undertaken, they chose one to help individuals struggling with homelessness, and I think that this is truly admirable.
“The donations they collected of warm items such as hats, scarves, gloves and blankets, have already helped a number of people that are currently sleeping rough, and will continue to help people that come to us for support.
“I felt really honoured to get to meet the students, they were inquisitive, compassionate and whole heartedly dedicated to this worthy cause.”
Learn more about Supported Learning at Banbury and Bicester College online or contact the Activate Learning contact centre via phone on 0800 612 6008.