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Sheffield College First In FE To Launch A Public Living Room

Sheffield College students are the first in the further education sector to benefit from an idea being piloted by a new international movement to boost wellbeing and combat social isolation.

A communal living room for students has opened at the College’s City campus, on Granville Road, as part of a six-month pilot project with Camerados.

Camerados is an international movement that inspires organisations to create social spaces so that people develop a sense of community, and gain support from others.

Approximately 1,000 students at City campus have used the communal space, fitted with sofas, soft furnishings, a piano and fairy lights, which is based in the atrium.

The College and Sheffield College Students’ Union have jointly backed the project. As a result of the pilot’s success at City campus, the scheme is now being rolled out across the College’s three other campuses: Hillsborough, Peaks and Olive Grove.

Angela Foulkes, Principal, The Sheffield College, said: “We are proud to be the first further education college nationally to launch a Camerados living room, which has been very well received by students.”

She added: “The College is committed to inclusiveness and social cohesion, and this project provides a relaxed communal space where students of all ages and backgrounds can meet, socialise and support one another.”

This is the first Camerados project in a further education college setting. Other public living rooms have been launched in community centres, hospitals and libraries in the UK, United States and soon Australia.

Amy Smith, President, Sheffield College Students’ Union, added: “The feedback from students has been really positive. The living room project makes them feel more connected to one another and it’s encouraged students to socialise beyond their immediate friendship groups, increasing their self confidence. The scheme also complements our mental health awareness campaign by helping to tackle social isolation.”

Apprentice Megan Osborne, 21, said: “It’s great that students from different courses can meet and socialise in a dedicated and relaxing space that’s separate from the classroom and chatting on the corridors.”

Emma Burley, Development Manager, Camerados, commented: “Camerados is a movement that inspires organisations to adopt simple initiatives that foster a sense of social connection, friendship and support. Students of all ages have attended the living room to sit together, play music and make each other cups of tea. In the course of doing that they’ve developed new connections, and had the chance to discuss what’s going on in their lives, enabling them to look out for one another. This type of activity is so important in today’s world today given the fast pace of our lives.”

Further education colleges wanting more information about launching a living room can email Emma Burley . Some places are still available on full-time courses at The Sheffield College

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