(L-R) Jo Maher, Loughborough College, Stuart Rimmer MBE, East Coast College, and Dr Sam Parrett CBE, London South East Colleges

#GoodForMeGoodForFE - The FE college sector is much misunderstood and misrepresented in the education system but those of us that work in it or indeed have had our lives transformed by it, will know that colleges play a far more significant role than they are given credit for.      

Things are hopefully changing with recent recognition from Government as to the vital role of colleges in the post-Covid economic recovery.  Up-skilling, re-skilling and working in partnership with employers to fill skills gaps are all essential and FE will rise admirably to this challenge over the coming months and years.      

Colleges have always been, and continue to be, essential anchor institutions within their communities 

But even beyond this, colleges have always been, and continue to be, essential anchor institutions within their communities. We understand and address local need, support social mobility and help people of all ages and backgrounds to achieve their potential.      

Colleges give people second chances, but also first chances – and put far more focus on life beyond the achievement of a qualification. We equip our students with employability and life skills, preparing them for next steps and progression into fulfilling careers.    

With this in mind, it really should have been no surprise that the launch of a new community impact campaign for the sector would attract such phenomenal support from colleges around the country. At the time of writing, over 100 individual colleges have expressed interest to join the Good for Me Good for FE initiative.      

Building on the success of FE Foodbank Friday, this new campaign aims to harness all the voluntary and social impact work currently happening in FE – and expanding this even further by supporting more staff to get involved. Our collective aim is to generate £1m of social value, highlighting the significant impact that we as a sector have on all our communities.      

Research shows a strong link between helping others and good mental health and wellbeing 

Research shows a strong link between helping others and good mental health and wellbeing*. This is something we are all keen to support our staff and students with after such a challenging period, making this initiative even more valuable.    

Quantifying the ‘real’ value that FE delivers has been difficult in the past, but we are now able to do this via London South East Colleges’ social value calculator. This system has been developed using the National TOMS framework, independently verified by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and the Social Value Portal – and will put a monetary figure on the social value being generated by each college.     

The incredible response of the sector to this initiative – almost half of colleges in the country already getting involved - clearly reflects the good work that is already happening. There is huge will and determination to extend this and for colleges to reach out even further into their communities.      

Having launched this campaign just two weeks ago, we are overwhelmed by the support and want to thank every single college who has expressed interest in getting involved. We also hope others not yet signed up will also get in touch and join us.     

We also have a number of charitable partners coming on board, which our college network can support and tap into the many volunteering opportunities on offer.    

#FEFoodbankFriday demonstrated how much we can achieve when working together as a sector 

#FEFoodbankFriday demonstrated how much we can achieve when working together as a sector – with every single partner bringing a range of skills, perspectives and value.     

Good for Me Good for FE is an incredible opportunity to collectively demonstrate the true value of what every single college does, every single day – while committing long term to supporting the communities we are all rooted within.   

Thank you for your support; we look forward to moving this exciting project forward together.    

Dr Sam Parrett CBE, London South East Colleges, Jo Maher, Loughborough College and Stuart Rimmer MBE, East Coast College 

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