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The Corporation

Posted: 13/11/15

Fairness and democracy celebrated at West Notts

The spotlight was shone on all things equality and diversity this week at West Nottinghamshire College.

  • Simon Winston was given a very warm welcome by students at West Notts College
  • Police instructor Matt Ward with student police cadets Paige Dowsett, Daniel Snowdon, Ryan Raynor and Adam Werle
  • Handmade clay poppy sales were led by Lucy Matkin, Katie Taylor, Rebecca Garratt and Tinisha Whitmore
  • Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovich spoke about different religions and tolerance of each other

Organised by the college’s Students’ Union (SU) a range of activities were planned to encourage students to think in a more diverse way about the world around them.

Students were encouraged to add their views on a special pledge tree where they could add their own views on the subject of British Values and democracy. All pledges were placed on the tree for other students to see and discuss.

The SU also encouraged students aged from 16 to start their online registration to vote. This follows on from the Active Citizens FE (ACFE) Rock Enrol campaign which is the government’s new individual registration system which the college piloted in March.

Staff and students remembered the fallen on Wednesday at college-wide remembrance services which were also streamed live across television screens within college. Readings were given by students who are also members of the police cadets who delivered a poem, dressed in their cadet uniforms.

Foundation studies learners raised over £58 through sales of hand-crafted glazed clay poppies which they’ll be donating to the Royal British Legion. They also used their creative talents to produce remembrance day displays which remembered the lives and bravery of soldiers past and present.

Also on Wednesday, students discovered more about the Jewish faith when Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovich paid a visit. Tanya became the Rabbi of the Nottingham Liberal Synagogue in 2009 and spoke to students about mutual respect and tolerance of other faiths and religions.

On Thursday (12 November) over a hundred students enjoyed a return visit from Simon Winston – a holocaust survivor from the Second World War. Simon, who has visited the college before, told the story of how he and his family escaped the ghetto when Germany attacked The Soviet Union and the harrowing journey he, his parents and brother had to face in order to survive.

Student experience manager Sue Harries said: “Our students were amazed to learn how Simon’s family survived all those years having escaped and having to buy their way out of the concentration camp. They then heard his story of living underground in a field and only being able to come out at night because of the Germans. 

“It was a privilege to meet someone who has survived the Holocaust and discover the effect it had on his and his family’s lives.  Students got a really good understanding of how dreadful things must have been and they witnessed the real emotion in his voice as he recalled those days.”