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Life Skills - SEND Students Spend an Afternoon with the Mayor

Life Skills - SEND Students Spend an Afternoon with the Mayor

Date: 03 February 2022

A group of our Life Skills – SEND students have been taking part in a range of community initiatives with the Merstham Community Facility Trust (MCFT), a local charity supporting residents in Redhill and Merstham. In recognition of their hard work and generous spirit, the students and MCFT volunteers were invited to meet with Cllr Jill Bray, Mayor of Reigate & Banstead, who wished to thank everyone for their active involvement within the community.

Life Skills Tutor, Pauline Grant, had approached the MCFT to set up some voluntary work experience, as the Entry Level 1 students entered their final year at the College. Since September, the group have volunteered every Tuesday, getting involved with projects set up by the MCFT.

This has included reducing food waste by collecting food for the Trust’s Community Fridge, litter picking around the Community Hub and spending time on the Community Allotments, which is home to the MCFT’s fruit and vegetables. The produce grown here goes towards the Merstham Mix Café and Community Fridge, and the students have enjoyed picking up new skills such as weeding, composting, and planting bulbs. 

East Surrey College Life Skills - SEND students help out on the Merstham allotments.

Pauline Grant, SEND Lecturer explained:

“All the students in the group have severe learning difficulties and will progress to adult social care, so practising life skills in the community is so important to them. They are really enjoying the experience and have worked well as a team. The parents and carers think it's great and we've had some fantastic feedback from the charity. I'm so proud of the group and what they've achieved and am grateful for the support from the MCFT team.”

On Wednesday 2 February, the students made their way to Reigate Town Hall, accompanied by their Tutor and Learning Support Assistants. They met with family members as well as staff and volunteers from the MCFT and were introduced to Cllr Jill Bray, Mayor of the Borough, and Deputy Mayor, Cllr Rachel Turner. Cllr Bray spoke with the students, hearing about their experiences of volunteering and commenting on the importance of involvement within the community, no matter your ability, as it allows everyone to benefit.

Life Skills - SEND students from East Surrey College, pictured with their tutor and Learning Support Assistants, and Cllr Jill Bray, Mayor of Reigate & Banstead.

Kira Brabenec, Interim Curriculum Manager – SEND, commented:

“The Entry 1 students have had a curriculum based on community access and practical learning in place for this academic year. The feedback from parents and carers has been incredibly positive as they value the opportunity for community contribution as well as the recognition and inclusion that the students have received whilst volunteering. The work with Merstham Hub is a credit to all involved and especially to Pauline for her efforts in getting this organised.”

To find out more about Life Skills – SEND courses at the College, please visit our dedicated course area.

Address: East Surrey College, Gatton Point, London Road, Redhill, Surrey RH1 2JX

Main Switchboard: 01737 772611 / Client Services: 01737 788444 / Email:

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