All six of EKC Group’s Colleges have been deluged in yellow today as students and staff show their support for World Mental Health Day.
Ahead of the actual day – taking place on Sunday – students and staff have been invited to say #HelloYellow and wear something yellow.
Natalie Eagles-Larke, a Learning Support Practitioner from Folkestone College, came up with the idea to get involved. She said: “I’m very passionate about mental health in general but especially in young people and children.
“I saw a Facebook advert for the charity YoungMinds and had the idea of seeing sunshine on the College campus for staff to wear yellow to show support to the students and let them know we are here to talk.
“Next thing you know it went all over EKC Group's Colleges!”
With each participant donating £1 to youth mental wellbeing charity YoungMinds, the initiative has been incredibly popular across the Ashford, Broadstairs, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Sheppey campuses.
At the Group's Folkestone College, Supported Learning students helped put up bunting and sold yellow wristbands to raise even more money for the charity.
Rhianna Jefford, who studies Level 2 Hairdressing at Dover Technical College, said that an increased focus on mental wellbeing is essential.
She said: “One of my pals had bad mental health problems and I think Covid made it much worse.
“Coming back to College and finally getting to meet my friends in person has been great.”
Lauren Anning, Director of Further and Higher Education Experience at the Group, said: "It has been fantastic to see EKC Group staff and students get behind the #HelloYellow campaign.
“They have sent a positive message to the community about the importance of supporting young people with their mental health.
“No student at College should ever feel they are unable to ask for help or support.”
Today’s drive to help YoungMinds comes at a time of increased awareness of decreased mental health, particularly among young people who’ve struggled throughout the pandemic.
On top of today’s in-College fundraising, the EKC Group has set up a JustGiving page in support of YoungMinds.
The EKC Group recently secured funding from KCC’s Covid-19: Contain Outbreak & Management Fund, which will allow for a number of new initiatives to improve learners’ mental wellbeing.
Among the raft of projects enabled by this governmental investment will be providing more counselling sessions; leading activities to promote wellbeing; and creating outdoor spaces for students to lower their stress in.