I would like to begin again by acknowledging all the students, tutors and recovery college team members for their commitment and care for their Tower Hamlets community during this pandemic and to acknowledge those in our community who were directly or indirectly affected by COVID 19, especially those who are not with us today as a result.
Since the lifting of lockdown restrictions, we have steadily opened up and it has been wonderful to see students, tutors and team members in person again. We hope this remains over the winter and we can start teaching in community venues again from next term!
Summer Term 2021: Summer Term 2021 was a hybrid term with a few courses delivered digitally and the majority delivered face to face at our Recovery College base. It was an excellent term with lots of exciting new courses and projects that had been in the pipeline for some time, coming to life! Our college team and the peer and professional tutors worked extremely hard to adapt and support our changing teaching approach. This required a can-do and flexible attitude (and a lot of patience!) and demonstrated the commitment of everyone to the college! There was excellent feedback from students who fed back to me that they appreciated having a space to physically learn, connect and share their lived experience, where this hadn’t existed in the same way during the pandemic. We also couldn’t have held any of our classroom-based courses without our Covid-19 Safety Assistants, most prominently Nina Ezra who made sure everyone was safe and happy in every course. THANK YOU
Our Young Adult Learning Stream for 18-25+ year old students launched successfully this term. I’d like to thank Tahara, Alarna and Antonia for their hard work getting straight into teaching courses shortly after starting in their roles. The team have shown huge amounts of dedication and enthusiasm for the courses held this term which included ‘Body Image & Positivity’, ‘Managing Relationships & Mental Health’ and ‘Managing Transitions in Mental Health Services’. The stream also held some ‘Summer School’ courses over the August summer break which included ‘LGBTQ+ and Identity’ and ‘Make Up for Mindfulness’ all of which had an enthusiastic response which we look forward to building on this coming Autumn Term 2021. You can catch up with all their fun antics on our Instagram and Tik Tok (thankfully no dancing from me!)
The Autumn Term 2021 is set to be yet another innovative term with lots of exciting new offers for students! This term we will be offering classroom-based courses at our college base and online courses. Although we had hoped to resume teaching at community venues this term, we hope next term this will be possible. We will be relaunching our IT support and library coffee mornings and our Individual Learning Plans are still available for any students to get involved in.
We are also launching our Community Inclusion Learning Stream. This is a one-year pilot with the objectives of setting up a learning stream for communities in Tower Hamlets who may have been included in what was previously referred to as the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. We will be offering courses in Sylheti and Somali and holding focus groups with community groups to understand what else they would like from the college. We will also hold groups and explore ideas around racial inequalities and injustices and support communities to challenge these through our education model. Interpreters and translating services are also available through this stream so if you know anyone who would like to get involved but are unable to speak English please do get it touch with us and we will make sure to arrange interpreting services to ensure they are included.
We have recruited three new staff members in this stream and I would like to welcome and congratulate them in joining us. Hajira Mahbub is the Community Inclusion Learning Stream Lead and she is Sylheti speaking with a background in Islamic theological studies which she will bring into her role. Sazidun Haque is the Community Inclusion Learning Stream Peer Tutor who is also Sylheti-speaking and brings extensive experience in outreach and peer support work in Tower Hamlets in the Isle of Dogs. Most recently, Ismael-Rachid Abdi-Ibrahim has been recruited as the Somali-Speaking Community Inclusion Learning Stream Peer Tutor role and Ismael has been a long-standing valued tutor at the college and we look forward to seeing his great work in this new post.
Alongside the Community Inclusion courses we also have our existing courses and new courses on offer. ‘Understanding Diabetes’, ‘Men and Mental Health’, ‘Sewing Skills’ and ‘Making Healthy Snacks’ are some of our new courses on offer! ‘Understanding Bipolar’ will be returning after some time as well as ‘Challenging stigma’. All the courses this term should set the scene for a fun an exciting term and we look forward to see you there!