From education to employment

United Colleges Group wins national award

award and confetti

United Colleges Group (UCG) are pleased to announce that Diana Brown, Head of Student Support Services, and her team have won a prestigious prize at the National Association for Managers of Student Services (NAMSS) awards.

Diana was on hand to collect the Inspirational Project of the Year trophy for 2023 on behalf of UCG at the national charity’s annual conference at Liverpool’s Hilton Hotel on March 13-14 for her tireless work to create the Food Bank and Clothes Bank programme.

She said: “I am really happy that the hard work from everyone involved in the foodbank and clothes bank was recognised at a national level. It’s a win for UCG.”

NAMSS provides support and professional development for managers and colleagues who work in student services roles in post-16 education and training, with a network of around 600 members in almost 300 member colleges across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

From humble beginnings of wanting to help a few underfed and poorly clothed students to setting up and managing food and clothes banks, Diana has developed a sustainable programme to help clothe and feed vulnerable students.

It also provides key life skills training for our supported learners, opportunities to gain work experience for students with low levels of English, and an opportunity for students to help fellow students at UCG.

Diana started the foodbank in September 2016 after being made aware of students who were unable to participate in class or enrichment activities due to hunger. She was able to provide them with meals while in college but wanted to make sure students had access to food at home. 

Then, in 2019, after helping a learner who only had a pair of slippers to wear to college, Diana set out to start a clothes bank for students — and after a delay to the project due to the pandemic, she has restarted work again on the initiative this term and is already helping other learners who need support to find essential clothing items.

Stephen Davis, Principal of United Colleges Group, said: “This award is a wonderful achievement for Diana and her team. They provide vital support for students in all areas of learning and life skills.”

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