Our websites

West Nottinghamshire College Group operates a number of websites that support our growing business.

The Corporation

Posted: 01/06/17

Shopping trolleys full of kindness

Homelessness charities have thanked kind-hearted students and staff at West Nottinghamshire College for donating “vital” food, clothing, toiletries and money as part of an annual appeal.

Andrea Lounds (front, third left) and Tina Barnes (front, fifth left) join students, staff and principal Dame Asha Khemka (front, centre) with the shopping trolleys filled with food, clothing and toiletries.

Seven supermarket shopping trolleys were filled with essential provisions in an annual college initiative known as the ‘554 Challenge’.

Held annually since 2011, its name reflects the challenge’s original aim of getting ‘5’ curriculum areas to fill ‘5’ shopping trolleys ‘4’ the homeless. These days, virtually all areas of the college contribute much-needed items over a four-week period.

Once again, charities benefitting from the challenge were the Beacon Project, the Hall Homeless Support Project, Framework, and Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum (NNRF).

Representatives from some of these organisations attended a presentation at the college’s Derby Road campus on Thursday 25 May to receive their share of the bumper collection.

Andrea Lound, assistant manager at Framework’s Sherwood Street Centre, Mansfield – which offers 15 units of emergency accommodation for people who have either been sleeping rough or are at immediate risk of doing so – said: “A lot of people that come to our hostel have literally nothing until their statutory benefits come through, and many of our service-users are on very low incomes. Topping-up their food through these types of collections helps them survive.

“As an organisation, we rely on donations. It’s so thoughtful of the students to get involved. It also makes them aware of the hardships in society and what can happen to people. It’s lovely of them to get together and help those in need.”

Tina Barnes, trustee of The Hall Homeless Support Project – which runs drop-in sessions at St Peter’s Centre, Mansfield, where service-users receive a hot meal, food parcels and clothing – said: “I don’t think we’d be able to continue without donations such as these – they’re absolutely vital. It wasn’t so long ago we were desperately running out of money and the college really supported us through fundraising and donations, and got us back on our feet again.

“It’s helped us for many years now and we’re eternally grateful. Young people sometimes get bad press but things like this show the many great qualities they have.”

Computer science student Ebony Reed, 19, who supported the campaign, said: “Many people don’t realise the scale of homelessness so it’s important we raise awareness and do what we can. Providing homeless people with the everyday items we take for granted helps them in their lives, so it’s extremely important we give back what we’ve already got.”

Learner development coach Lee Bunting, who successfully managed and co-ordinated the initiative for the second year running, said: “Once again, the entire college has really pulled together and it’s going to directly impact on homeless people in Mansfield and Ashfield.

“People feel sorry for the homeless in the winter when it’s cold, but they tend to get forgotten about when the weather gets warmer. They don’t realise people are still sleeping rough. That’s why we talk to students about the issue all year round through tutorials and other activities.

“Another reason why we do this is that we have homeless students. Whether sleeping on the streets or sofa-surfing after being kicked out by parents or guardians, or having left home for other reasons, it does happen. This is just one way we can help.

“A huge thanks to the Sutton Road branch of Morrisons, Mansfield, which donated all the trolleys this year, and to colleagues Amanda Oldham and James Levy for their amazing support.”