Canterbury College - Canterbury College awarded a Bronze Wilder Kent Award
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Canterbury College awarded a Bronze Wilder Kent Award

Over the last year, schools and community groups across Kent have been taking part in the Kent Wildlife Trust’s Wilder Kent Awards scheme. Set up in 2020, the scheme was created to make a real difference in communities by protecting nature and wildlife for future generations.

We are excited to announce that Canterbury College has been awarded a Bronze Wilder Kent Award for its commitment to sustainability and practices used to make the site a better place for nature and wildlife. 

The Students’ Union put forward a proposal to the Senior Leadership Team to take a whole organisation approach to sustainability, including a request for a review of the Environmental and Sustainably Policy within College, with the goal of reducing carbon emissions to zero. The Students’ Union also asked for College to declare a climate emergency and work with local councils and external stakeholders to significantly reduce carbon footprint. 

In response, many practices have been implemented throughout College to help reduce emissions and work towards creating an overall more sustainable site and greener future.

The Spring Lane campus have begun by taking steps to reduce waste, promote recycling and play their part in protecting the environment. They have implemented bins around the site to promote recycling, placed water points throughout the campus to encourage reusable drinking bottles and discourage single-use plastics.

To reduce unnecessary power usage, motion activated lighting and energy saving hand dryers are used to reduce paper towel waste and conserve energy. There is also a Cycle to College scheme and a designated area for bicycle storage to encourage cycling to site and reducing carbon footprints from those that live locally.  

The Spring Lane campus also has a student lead project in an onsite polytunnel, where they grow, maintain and produce their own fruit and vegetable plants that help to contribute to feeding the animals and are also used in the campus cafés. 

Additionally, as part of a horticultural group project, students are rejuvenating an old wildlife garden by planting flowers and shrubs to attract more wildlife and sustain populations of insects, such as bees and butterflies. Fallen trees are also recycled to create bark chippings for paths

On the main campus, Carpentry and Brick students have been gaining valuable insights into the future of sustainable construction through a series of masterclasses from industry experts. Single-use plastic bottles have been collected to be made into eco-bricks, to create building materials for students. 

The Supported Learning Department have been working with the local community to upcycle old crisp packets into survival sleeping blankets to help people experiencing homelessness and to save these materials from ending up in landfill. 

The College also take part in a glove recycling scheme, where our disposable gloves are cleaned and ground down in a fine powder to be made into new recycled products. 

Our Fashion and Textile students are working closely with clients from a local supported living provider, Optivo, to upcycle their clothes and avoid waste. The students are redesigning and reworking their garments to create a new life for the clothing, which will then be sent back to their owners once finished. 

Since 2017, the rooftop solar panels located onsite have generated around 250,000 kWh of renewable energy which is then utilised on campus. As part of the second phase of a trial run in conjunction with the Department for Transport, an e-scooter hub was introduced on campus in June for use of students and the public. 

Many departments within College are dedicated to purchasing the most sustainable items from suppliers that are located as locally as possible to the Canterbury area to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Jessica Berry, Assistant Principal said: “Since the Students’ Union asked the Senior Leadership Team to declare a climate emergency, we have been working hard to ensure that we embed sustainability and climate awareness into all aspects of what we do as a college. Moving forwards, we will be looking to work with businesses, community groups and primary and secondary schools to give our students the opportunity to make an even bigger impact on the environment as well as looking to decrease Canterbury College’s environmental impact and increase the diversity of wildlife that inhabit our campus. This recognition from the Kent Wildlife Trust is the culmination of a huge amount of work by students and staff from all areas of College”.