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Colleges debate mental health support in the face of funding cuts

Colleges and communities will come together in a series of 'Love our Colleges' events highlighting mental health support.

07 May 2019

Activate Learning’s colleges are hosting high profile debates on how to help students with mental health issues to fulfil their potential at a time when Further Education (FE) funding is being squeezed.

Public sector and charity representatives, college staff and students will meet during Mental Health Awareness Week on 13 – 19 May, and under the banner of Love our Colleges, the Association of Colleges campaign for better funding and fair pay for the FE sector.

Additional resources like dedicated staff and information and advice sessions can support learners with mental health issues within a familiar and safe setting before they join the wider workforce. When learners excel at college, they are in a better position to succeed in their chosen careers and help our local economy to grow.


Topics under discussion will include how we can address the Berkshire and Oxfordshire skills gaps; how to improve social mobility in the region; and how to help ensure that we are teaching the skills that local industry and services need to thrive in the next 10 years. All these topics will be covered from a mental health support perspective.


The debates will take place at:

Bracknell and Wokingham College
15 May, 10:00am

Confirmed panel members:


Chair: Laura Asbridge - Activate Learning

Superintendent Stan Gilmour –Thames Valley Police

Ray Langshaw – Recruitment & Retention Manager and HSS/Senior Nurse at Broadmoor Hospital

Simone Gridelli from Counselling Youthline


Reading College
17 May, 1:30pm

Confirmed panel members:


Chair: Louise Kirkham - Activate Learning

Superintendent Stan Gilmour – Thames Valley Police

Rebecca Curtayne - Healthwatch Reading

Patricia Pease - Associate Director for Safeguarding, Royal Berkshire Hospital

Mari Lynch - Social work student and author of a dissertation on crime and mental health


Banbury and Bicester College, Broughton Road, Banbury, OX16 9QA

16 May, 3:00 pm

Confirmed panel members:


Chair: Laura Asbridge – Activate Learning

Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire

Superintendent Stan Gilmour (or a representative from Thames Valley Police)

Ben Malcher - Student Support, Activate Learning

Sophie Black - Oxford Health


City of Oxford College, Oxpens Road, Oxford, OX1 1SA

17 May, 10:00 am

Confirmed panel members:


Chair: Bernard Grenville-Jones, Activate Learning

Superintendent Stan Gilmour (or representative from Thames Valley Police)

Diane Woodward – Oxford Health

Annie Farrelly – Oxford Health

Louise Headley - Oxford Health

Nicola Taylor – CAMHS community in reach worker, SOFEA

Mari Lynch - Social Work student and author of a dissertation on crime and mental health


Sally Dicketts CBE, CEO of the Activate Learning, said:

“The theme of these events will explore the work we do with students around pastoral care and supporting their wellbeing. We know that mental health in young people is an increasing issue with more and more young people than ever before are being diagnosed with mental ill health.


“This is an important element of the work we do across our college sites and I feel the level of support we offer within Activate Learning sets us apart.


“These roundtable discussions will be designed to highlight this work to our local MPs and stakeholders who are coming along on the day. We hope to vividly illustrate the demands that are being placed on our services and the challenges we face against the backdrop of the funding shortages.”