The rising cost of living is a critical issue at the moment, and this is a particular concern for our students and their families as the new 22/23 academic year begins. The College recognises these difficulties and is working to help prevent these being a barrier to learning for young people.
With this in mind, ongoing initiatives throughout the College have been expanded to support students. The Wellbeing Centre is in its sixth year of development, providing a welcoming and safe space for students who are in need of support; whether emotional, mental, informational or instrumental.
The centre has a large clothes and toiletries bank, full of clothing and personal hygiene items donated by members of staff, students and the local community. Students are encouraged to drop-in and take any items they need to support them, in a safe and non-judgemental environment.
There is a range of different types of clothing in the clothes bank, such as items suitable for casual day wear or suits and professional business attire, for students who may be attending a job interview.
Vicki Smith, Head of Safeguarding and Wellbeing at Canterbury College, said: "The Safeguarding and Wellbeing Team support all students including disaffected and disengaged students in their personal development, enabling them to become independent learners who enjoy and achieve and able to reach their full potential whilst creating a positive and inclusive ethos that challenges discrimination and promotes equality and diversity.
The Wellbeing Centre is a centralised area for students to access emotional wellbeing support from a qualified counsellor as well as delivering regular weekly underpinned Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions on subjects such as depression and anxiety.
We work in partnership for the delivery of these sessions to students from our Supported Learning and Foundation Learning departments. The centre also works with external agencies to host support groups on site, such as young carer support."
The Specialist Learning Practitioners are also on hand to talk to students who are struggling to see if they can make any difficulties easier.
Other initiatives across the College are aimed at easing the effects of the cost of living.
The Students' Union have a food bank that is available for all students to use, and they advertise local part-time jobs for students who want to take on employment to support them when studying at College.
The jobs advertised are specially selected, to ensure that the roles fit around student timetables, to prevent employment disrupting their learning, which is imperative to their future progression.
Every morning, students are able to access a free breakfast, to ensure they have had a nutritious meal before they start their day of learning.