A student has found confidence and a route to self-expression on his music course at Uxbridge College.
Ruben Sewkumar says his stammer, which he has had for as long as he can remember, has sometimes made it hard for him to communicate – but rapping has helped him find his niche. He has written and recorded his own tracks and can perform without completely stammering, which is not possible for him when he speaks.
Ruben said: “Rap has helped me a lot. When I rap I don’t stammer at all and that’s a pretty amazing experience. It’s one way I can express how I am feeling when that doesn’t always feel possible. When I express myself and say what I want to say, it’s like a release.”
He says he has also found a supportive environment at college where he can be himself. For instance, people who stammer sometimes need more time to say what they need to say, and if others understand he needs more time, it makes communication easier.
He said: “I get on with everyone here, teachers and the other students are supportive and understanding. Being at college suits me better than school - I have got more of a social life and I’m really enjoying myself. It’s a nice place to be and a nice environment. Talking is still hard but it helps if people understand. I may take longer to say what I have to say, but I may still have something to say.”
Music lecturer Ray Griffin said: “We are really pleased with how well Ruben has done this year and we look forward to seeing what he will produce in the way of original material next year.”
Ruben has learned various techniques to help him deal with having a stammer, including at the Michael Palin Centre which provides therapies for young people and adults. He still feels less confident about speaking than he would like to and hopes he will find ways to change this.
Pictured: (L-R) Student Divya Bajaj; Kathryn Underwood, Harlington Hospice's Office Manager; Enkema Futsum, Festival Organiser; Steve Curry, CEO of Harlington Hospice; Lorraine Collins, Executive Director - Enterprise & Development at Uxbridge College and student Isra Iqbal.
A school reunion and a community festival held at Uxbridge College in Hayes netted nearly £300 for Harlington Hospice.
The money was raised through a combination of donations from the Townfield Reunion, and events at the Hayes Summer Festival. The campus is built around the former Townfield School buildings, so old pupils gathered there to revisit their old classrooms and reminisce. They also enjoyed traditional school meals provided by the College’s catering and hospitality students.
The festival for adults and children, supported by a grant from Heathrow Community Fund, offered a range of activities including face painting, bric-a-brac and cake sales, games, sport, and a design-your-own-t-shirt workshop. Music was also provided by the Schools’ Community Choir Hayes and College students on courses including hairdressing, beauty therapy, childcare, and sport took part in running activities.
Childcare students Divya Bajaj (19) and Isra Iqbal (19) met Harlington Hospice’s Office Manager Kathryn Underwood and CEO Steve Curry to present the donation.
Lorraine Collins, Executive Director Enterprise & Development at Uxbridge College, said: “These two very successful events and the money raised show what an important part of the community Uxbridge College in Hayes is. Both these events offered something unique to the people who attended them, as well as supporting Harlington Hospice and enabling students to showcase their skills to a new audience. We plan to work more closely with Harlington Hospice both to support their fundraising and to continue engaging our students in volunteer activities.”
Steve Curry, CEO of Harlington Hospice, said: “We were delighted to receive this donation and really touched that the students chose Harlington Hospice to receive the money they raised. One of our current projects is to make it possible for more people to use our services, and this money will be very helpful in supporting this work.”
Enkema Futsum, who managed the festival as part of her apprenticeship in Business Administration at Uxbridge College, said: “It was lovely to see so many members of our local community getting involved in fun activities at Uxbridge College in Hayes, and it also gave them a chance to find out more about what we have to offer. Thanks to the festival, the reunion and the support of Heathrow Community Fund, we are fortunate to be able to make this donation to Harlington Hospice.”
The money, a total of £280, will go towards funding care and support for people at the end of their lives, and families experiencing bereavement and loss.
Uxbridge College has been recognised in the national Green Gown Awards for its commitment to the environment.
The College is a finalist in the ‘Best Newcomer’ category in the awards, which are run by The Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC). The Green Gown Awards recognise exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities, colleges and the learning and skills sectors across the UK. The College, nominated for its ‘E-Collegey’ initiative, now goes through to Stage 2 of the competition when the final winners will be selected.
E-Collegey was launched at Uxbridge College in 2012 to boost participation in green activities and encourage awareness of sustainability issues. The initiative has covered a range of activities for staff and students, including a student competition to choose a name for it and design a logo. Campaigns were run to encourage staff and students to recycle more materials and switch off lights and computers, a photographic competition was held on a green theme, and a fashion show staged using recycled materials. Teaching about sustainable technologies and practices has been included in the curriculum wherever possible, a car-sharing and cycle purchase scheme set up for staff, a bike workshop held, and an ecology area created on campus. The College has also invested in cutting carbon emissions and saving money by maximising the use of sustainable materials, systems and practices in campus building and improvement projects.
Sara Sands, Vice Principal Finance & Corporate Services, said: “Uxbridge College is delighted to have been shortlisted in the Green Gown Awards in recognition of our efforts to be as environmentally responsible as we can. E-Collegey has made a real difference, increasing recycling and cutting energy use both on and off campus, and helping students create sustainable habits which can make a huge difference across their lifetimes.”
Iain Patton, Chief Executive of the EAUC, said: “It is fantastic to see more institutions than ever being finalists – the strength and quality of applications is truly inspiring. The breadth of activity within the sector shows that sustainability really does bring positive impacts, both on the institution, their staff and students and the wider community. These finalists are proof that where institutions take sustainability seriously they are reaping the benefits.”
Stage one applications for the Awards closed in June and a judging panel chose a list of finalists who are now asked to submit their Stage 2 applications with a deadline in September. The winners of the Green Gown Awards 2014 will be announced at the Green Gown Awards’ Ceremony to be held at Whitworth Hall, The University of Manchester on Monday 3 November 2014.
In its 10 year history the Green Gown Awards has recognised 93 winners, 130 highly commended, 553 finalists and 1,412 applicants. This year the competition has attracted 180 applications across 14 categories.
EAUC is a not-for-profit charity with a membership of over 220 universities and colleges, supporting sustainability within the UK tertiary education sector.