It was an afternoon of celebration for colleges from all over the country last week, with staff and student winners of the Good for Me Good for FE Awards being presented with their prizes at the House of Lords.
The award winners were announced at an online ceremony at the end of October – and were then invited to a special afternoon tea in the Cholmondeley Room at the House of Lords. The event was sponsored by NCFE and hosted by Awards Patron, the Rt Hon Baroness Nicky Morgan.
21 awards were presented in total, across nine categories – including Student Volunteer of the Year, Volunteering College of the Year, Social Impact and Fundraiser of the Year.
The winners of two special awards were also revealed for the first time. The Special Recognition accolade, judged and announced by FE Commissioner, Shelagh Legrave, was presented to Lynn Pritchatt from Walsall College. This was in recognition of her incredible fundraising efforts for Motor Neurone Disease.
And the award for Overall Winner, chosen and presented by Baroness Nicky Morgan, went to Nottingham College’s tutor Deborah Ball and her hair and beauty students. They implemented an outstanding social action initiative to improve awareness of knife crime in their local community.
Prizes (provided by FE Associates) and certificates were presented to both winners and highly commended teams and individuals. College Principals (or representatives) read citations, sharing some truly inspirational stories with guests about the winners’ social action activities.
An afternoon tea was served during the presentation to the 110 guests.
Opening the event, host Baroness Morgan said:
“The Good for Me Good for FE campaign has connected staff and students with their communities across the country. “Importantly, these awards recognise the remarkable volunteering and fundraising efforts that have taken place as part of this initiative over the last two years. “The stories we will hear today are truly inspirational, reflecting the kindness and dedication that is so evident in the FE sector. “Well done to every single award winner. I am delighted to be here today, celebrating and recognising your achievements. Thank you for everything you do and please do enjoy this special afternoon in such a wonderful venue.”
The event was opened by Dr Sam Parrett CBE, Group Principal and CEO of London South East Colleges, one of Good for Me Good for FE’s three founding colleges. She said:
“Colleges play such a valuable role in their communities and the extent of this is especially clear today. “We are celebrating people who go above and beyond every single day to help improve the lives of others. This is so heartwarming, and I am proud to be part of such a fantastic initiative. “We are extremely grateful to our sponsors – NCFE, FE Associates and FE Week – who have helped make today possible. A huge thank you also to our awards patron and host, our esteemed judges, our colleges and all our guests. “And most importantly, well done all our award winners. You thoroughly deserve to have your efforts recognised and celebrated.”
Jo Maher, Principal of Loughborough College and also one of the campaign’s founders, was compere for the event, introducing each award. She added:
“There are so many people in colleges around the country who are absolutely committed to supporting other people – and it is so important that we celebrate this hard work. “140 colleges got on board with Good for Me Good for FE and collectively we have generated over £4m of social value. This is the equivalent of thousands of volunteering hours and a huge amount of fundraising for good causes. “Today’s winners are a true inspiration to us all, with many facing their own challenges, yet continuing to focus on helping others. Many congratulations and please keep up your amazing work!” The Good for Me Good for FE campaign was launched in 2021, led by London South East Colleges, Loughborough College and East Coast College. It aimed to connect staff and students with their communities and create a sustainable programme of fundraising and volunteering at colleges across the UK.
With 140 colleges and several corporate and charity partners coming on board, over £4m of social value has been generated to date. Thousands of pounds have also been raised and thousands of items donated to foodbanks. Visit goodformegoodforfe.co.uk
Overall winner, Deborah Ball, with her cohort of hair and beauty students, said:
“We are shocked and surprised to win this award but honoured and very proud. We wanted to raise awareness of knife crime in a creative way – while also doing something to help keep our students and other young people in Nottingham safe.
Student Georgia added: “This was such an interesting topic and made us all more aware of the issues.”
Nicci Golland from West London College and winner of the Outstanding Service Award. Nicci is described as a ‘beacon of compassion and empathy’, dedicated to supporting students who are asylum seekers and refugees. She said:
“This award means so much to me. I feel that I have been recognised both as a member of staff and for what I do as an ESOL teacher. I am passionate about what I do outside of work in terms of volunteering and supporting others – as are so many people with the FE sector. FE often gives people a second chance and I completely believe in this and what colleges stand for.”
Mariia Yakymenko from Abbeygate 6th Form was presented with the highly commended prize for Student Volunteer of the Year. She was recognised for always being keen to help and support others – despite facing many of her own challenges including having to flee her home country of Ukraine. She said:
“Everything today has been perfect. I was so shocked to be nominated, but very happy. I would recommend to volunteering to everyone as it really does make a difference.”