Honouring Friend’s Memory and Fundraising for Local Hospice: Local Teacher Runs Icelandic Marathon for Second Time 

Lancashire Adult Learning’s (LAL) Curriculum Leader, Chris Fay, has completed the Reykjavik marathon for a second consecutive year in support of cancer charities.  
Chris’s running journey began as a means to cope with personal loss. Following the passing of her mother to a rare form of lung cancer in 2017, Chris turned to running to channel her emotions and make a positive impact. She participated in marathons, including the Manchester and Reykjavik Marathon, to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, a cause close to her heart due to the support they provided during her mother’s battle. 

However, this year, Chris’s mission took a poignant turn. Early in the year, she lost a close friend, Anthony, to cancer. Inspired by his memory, she chose to dedicate this year’s Reykjavik marathon to him and raise funds for St. Rocco’s Hospice, an organisation that provided vital care to Anthony during his final days.  

“Dealing with cancer is something nobody wants to face alone,” says Chris, emphasising the importance of providing care and support to individuals and their families during their end-of-life journey. She recognises the significance of St. Rocco’s Hospice and the invaluable role they play in ensuring comfort and dignity. 

Chris’s journey has been one of resilience and determination. Despite setbacks such as a niggling injury and the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, she completed the Reykjavik marathon with a personal best time last year. Her dedication has been an inspiration to her community, friends, family, and colleagues. 

As Chris took on the Reykjavik marathon once again, she outdid herself by setting a new personal best over that distance. The support for her cause has continued to grow, and her story stands as a testament to the human spirit’s capacity to turn adversity into opportunity, to remember loved ones, and to bring about positive change.  

Chris is still raising money for the St.Rocco’s Hospice, a local charity providing specialist care and support to individuals and their families facing life-limiting illnesses. With a focus on enhancing the quality of life, St. Rocco’s Hospice offers compassionate end-of-life care and a range of support services. 

For those inspired by Chris’s journey and interested in supporting her cause, please visit her JustGiving page:https://www.justgiving.com/page/christine-brand-1690903919767

Nelson and Colne College Group Fortifies Governing Board with Three Accomplished Industry Leaders

Nelson and Colne College Group (NCCG), comprising Nelson and Colne College, Accrington and Rossendale College, and Lancashire Adult Learning, has bolstered its Governing board with the appointment of 3 new Governors, all of whom are leaders within their field.

Melissa Conlon, Commercial Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) North West, Helen Curtis, the former Deputy Chief Officer and Director of Quality and Performance at Chorley and South Ribble and Greater Preston Clinical Commissioning Groups, and Helen McVey, Chief Executive of Pendleside Hospice, all joined the board last month, as it looks to further strengthen the outstanding position that NCCG holds within the region.

Following the appointments, Phil Wilkinson, Chair of the Corporation at NCCG, said; “I am delighted to have such outstanding knowledge and experience joining what is already a very strong team. It is important to us that we ensure our Governing Board remains industry-focused, and can continue to bring relevant and up-to-date knowledge to our decision-making processes. These appointments come at a pivotal time for us with our ongoing Strategic Review process and will further strengthen our ability to support all our learners to develop the very best skills and knowledge, aligned to industry needs, meaning they can go on to shape the industries in which they choose to progress. Bringing industry expertise on board, via Helen, Melissa and Helen we can ensure our Governing Body continues to challenge the teams at NCCG to deliver the very best curriculum offer and experience for our communities.”

The experience that the new appointees bring to the Group is phenomenal, and as individuals each has an impressive career history.

Melissa Conlon has an extensive background in information technology and advanced manufacturing, having previously held national and international roles for GE and BNP Paribas, as well as having worked in both FE Colleges and Universities in Lancashire. Speaking about her appointment Melissa said, “I have always been passionate about supporting the growth and success of the advanced manufacturing sector and championing education and skills to make a critical contribution to that ongoing ambition, and this role enables me to keep doing just that.”

Helen Curtis’ wealth of knowledge and expertise in health has been developed through her extensive career of over 40 years as a senior leader in the NHS, in several executive, Board and clinically focussed roles. Helen is “excited to bring her executive leadership skills in quality improvement, performance and safeguarding to the Group, and delighted to be able to support the College Group to further ensure learners develop the skills and qualities needed for their success, and by the NHS, both now and in the future.”

Helen McVey is passionate about the need to join up health and social care agendas and support young people and adults to develop the skills to have a successful and rewarding career in health and social care. Helen said, “I am delighted to have taken up this position, and working with NCCG yet again, having already taken up the role as an Enterprise Adviser here at the College Group where I champion careers information and guidance. I am incredibly proud to be able to use my knowledge and experience to ensure the NCCG team

continue to inspire and prepare adults and young people for the fast-changing world of work.”

Speaking after the appointments Lisa O’Loughlin, Principal and CEO of Nelson and Colne College Group, said “I am thrilled to welcome Melissa, Helen and Helen, as each brings with them a wealth of expertise that will undoubtedly have a positive impact on our college. Collectively and individually their industry knowledge will be invaluable in helping us shape and implement our future strategy. Our aim at NCCG is always to provide learners with the best skills and knowledge aligned with industry needs, and these new appointments will only strengthen that commitment. I am excited about the positive impact the new Governors will have on our learners and communities, and their addition to the team reinforces our ambition for the future”.

Power in Partnership: Lancashire Adult Learning celebrate strong community collaborations with a partnership celebration event.

Lancashire Adult Learning (LAL), recently hosted a remarkable partnership event aimed at celebrating the College’s outstanding alliances with local businesses and groups.  

The event, held at Accrington and Rossendale College’s campus, brought together esteemed representatives from various organisations, including Lancashire County Council, BT and EE, NHS, Healthier Heroes, as well as local schools, libraries, and other community services.  

The occasion served as an opportunity to highlight the College’s excellent collaborations within the community, as well as showcasing their diverse course offerings and commitment to providing education to as many individuals as possible. 

The event was a resounding success, exemplifying the power of collaboration and its impact on community development. Through strategic partnerships, Lancashire Adult Learning has been able to promote its wide range of courses effectively and ensure that educational opportunities are accessible to all. 

One of the highlights of the day was the presentation of awards to recognise exceptional partners who have significantly contributed to the College’s mission. Lancashire County Council was honoured with the ‘Community Partner of the Year’ award, acknowledging their invaluable support and dedication to advancing educational initiatives within the region. The Sahara Project in Preston were awarded as ‘Employer Partner of the Year’. 

In addition to the awards ceremony, attendees enjoyed a delightful buffet lunch that fostered networking and relationship building among individuals from diverse backgrounds and organisations. The relaxed atmosphere provided a conducive environment for exchanging ideas, discussing potential collaborations, and strengthening community ties. 

The partnership event also included a workshop where participants had the opportunity to share their thoughts on the successes of Lancashire Adult Learning in the community and provide valuable insights for future improvements. This interactive session allowed stakeholders to engage in constructive discussions, highlighting effective practices and identifying areas for growth and enhancement. 

In addition, the event even included a unique health and wellbeing exercise that aimed to promote mental relaxation and rejuvenation. Attendees were transported back to their carefree youth as they took part in an exercise involving blowing bubbles. This engaging activity provided a welcome break from hectic schedules and email inboxes, allowing participants to momentarily disconnect and prioritise their personal well-being. 

Lancashire Adult Learning’s partnership event proved to be an inspiring occasion that celebrated the remarkable collaborations between the college and local businesses and groups. By highlighting these partnerships, the event emphasised the importance of education and its role in empowering individuals and communities. 

If you would like to find out how to partner with Lancashire Adult Learning in order to enhance your business, then call us at 0333 003 1717.  

Empowering Armed Forces Transition: Nelson and Colne College Group Hosts Successful Business Development Workshop 

Nelson and Colne College Group Earns Bronze Award from the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme

The College Group have been officially recognised as a bronze employer by the Armed Forces through the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS).  

The ERS recognises the commitment and support of UK employers for defence personnel and their families. The College Group is proud to receive this honour, aligning with our values and demonstrating our commitment to supporting the Armed Forces community. 

The ERS scheme comprises bronze, silver, and gold awards for employers who support those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, as well as their families. The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same.  

The bronze award recognises employers who pledge to support the Armed Forces and who have signed the Armed Forces Covenant. Nelson and Colne College Group signed the covenant in a ceremony held at Accrington and Rossendale College last February, where we dedicated our commitment to supporting the Armed Forces community through education and training. 

“We are delighted to welcome Nelson and Colne College Group as a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant,” said Major SJ Tickle of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. “Their commitment to supporting the Armed Forces community through education and training will make a real difference to the lives of veterans in the local area and beyond.” 

As a bronze award holder, Nelson and Colne College Group is open to employing reservists, armed forces veterans (including the wounded, injured, and sick), cadet instructors, and military spouses/partners. The college group will receive an electronic certificate and logos which will proudly be displayed on our website, stationery, and other materials. 

Nelson and Colne College Group is proud to support the Armed Forces community and is committed to promoting an armed forces-friendly environment. The College Group looks forward to continuing to support the Armed Forces community and inspiring others to do the same. 


Tea-rific educator from Lancashire brews up a royal invite to Buckingham Palace!

A member of the Lancashire Adult Learning (LAL) teaching team found herself rubbing shoulders with royalty last week as she was invited to King Charles III’s first Buckingham Palace Garden Party since his coronation. 

Sarah Haworth, the Head of Curriculum for Health and Wellbeing, Horticulture, Family Learning, Art & Humanities at Lancashire Adult Learning received a nomination from Holex, the lead professional body for Adult Community Education and Learning to attend the party last Tuesday.  

Sarah, who took her mother along with her, enjoyed afternoon tea in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, on what turned out to be a lovely May afternoon. The event took place a mere three days after the King’s Coronation celebrations. Sarah and her mother had the honour of mingling with the Prince and Princess of Wales, as well as many other distinguished guests. 

When asked about the once-in-a-lifetime experience, Sarah said: “I felt extremely honoured to be nominated by Holex and receive an invite to attend the garden party.  

“This was an incredible opportunity, and it was wonderful to share it with my Mum who is 76 and a huge fan of the Royal Family. On the day there were 8,000 attendees who had each been invited in recognition of the positive impact they have made in their community, and it was wonderful to meet some of these people and share stories. Attending this event for me, served as a reminder of all the good that happens every day in so many ways and that the world is an incredible place full of kind and selfless people, which can sometimes be hard to focus on with the volume of negative press that can surround us daily.” 

Sarah’s invitation to the palace was in recognition of her outstanding contributions to adult community education in Lancashire, both through her work at LAL and within National forums. 

In March 2022, alongside her team of fantastic colleagues, Sarah played a key role in the College Group and LAL achieving an “Outstanding” grade with Ofsted, the UK government’s education watchdog. Since then, good practice has been shared to the wider Adult Community Learning sector through Holex to its members. LAL, as a member of the Nelson and Colne College Group, is the only Further Education College in Lancashire to hold the “Outstanding” title. 

Due to the efforts of hard working and committed educators such as Sarah, LAL is now also the number one provider of adult education in the whole of Lancashire, according to the governments most recent National Achievement Rate Tables (NART) – and second in the entire country!  

LAL’s success in engaging adults into education and training opportunities through its innovative curriculum has made a real difference in the lives of countless individuals across Lancashire, and Sarah’s contributions have been integral to this achievement. Her expertise and dedication have ensured that LAL continues to be a pioneer in the field, providing high-quality education that meets the needs of its students and the wider community. 

The recognition that Sarah has received is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and vision of herself and of likeminded individuals at LAL. With Sarah’s contributions, LAL will continue to be at the forefront of promoting health and wellbeing through education, setting an example for other providers to follow. 

“Sarah’s invitation is a testament to her excellent work at the national policy level, which has helped LAL lead the way and influence national policy.” said Andrew Parkin, the Assistant Principal for Adult Learning at the Nelson & Colne College Group. 

Furthermore, Tracey Baron; Deputy Principal for Curriculum and Quality at Nelson and Colne College Group said:

“Sarah consistently goes above and beyond to bring first steps learning and qualifications for adults across the county.  The huge impact that Sarah and her team have in contributing to the health and wellbeing agenda of Lancashire County Council and also providing professional development routes for adult returners is phenomenal!” 

Outstanding Lancashire College Tops Local and National Achievement Rate Tables for Adult Learning 

Nelson and Colne College Group (NCCG) were delighted with the recent announcement regarding their adult learning success in the latest government National Achievement Rate Tables (NART).  

With an impressive 96.2% success rate, NCCG is officially the number one College in Lancashire for adult learners. This means that adults who attend either Lancashire Adult Learning, Accrington and Rossendale College or Nelson and Colne College, have a greater chance of success within their qualifications than if they attended any other College across Lancashire. Not only that but NCCG are second in the entire country within the same category, a hugely impressive feat. 

Furthermore, NCCG also ranked as the second highest rated college in Lancashire and the entire country for all ages and all levels, and this success comes on the back of last year’s Outstanding OFSTED rating, which made NCCG the only Further Education college within the whole of Lancashire to hold the prestigious title. 

But what does this mean for local communities and employers? NCCG’s success simply translates into more 16–18-year-olds and adults moving on to their next steps – whether that be universities or high-value jobs. The new railway maintenance programme is a shining example of the difference returning to learning as an adult, and doing so with NCCG, can make.  
Tyler Thompson (22) who signed up for the programme back in February commented on how it has turned his life around, taking him from a labourer, working a tiring job for low pay to a highly skilled engineer employed with the National Rail service, earning a wage he once thought not possible for someone with his qualifications.  

Lisa O’Loughlin, NCCG’s Principal and CEO said. “I am incredibly proud that the dedication of our students and staff, who have worked tirelessly to succeed, has been recognised within these achievement tables. 

“The College Group is proud to be able to work alongside our students to make such a positive impact on their lives and within the local community and we look forward to continuing our mission to provide excellent education and training opportunities for all.”  

In addition, the Chair of the Board of Corporation at NCCG, Phil Wilkinson, similarly expressed his delight at the news, stating: “The results of the latest NART are truly exceptional for us, reflecting well on LAL, NCCG and on Lancashire education as a whole. Our outstanding performance within this table is a testament to the hard work of our passionate teaching staff, our dedicated students, and our vibrant community” 

The official government NARTs are a collection of summary performance measures for education, training, and apprenticeships. They display the number of students who began a programme or qualification and went on to successfully complete it. You can find the full details here – https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/further-education-and-skills  

Nelson and Colne College Group’s Assistant Principal to sit on PMs Expert Advisory Group for Maths Drive 

Deputy Principal Tracey Baron meets HRH The Prince of Wales

It’s not every day you meet a Prince, which is why it was such a special occasion for our Deputy Principal for Curriculum and Quality, Tracey Baron.

Tracey met His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales when the Founder and President of The Prince’s Trust, visited Morecambe Fire Station.

The visit marked 21 years of Lancashire Fire and Rescue (LFRS) and The Prince’s Trust jointly delivering the Team programme. 

Nelson and Colne College Group partners with LFRS to deliver the programme and Tracey was invited as our representative at the event.

She said: “It was a great honour to attend the celebration on behalf of the Nelson and Colne College Group. The Team programme offers so many opportunities for young people in the area and seeing some of them tell their stories on the day was inspirational.

“The Prince of Wales is hugely supportive of the work carried out here in Lancashire and we’re delighted that Lancashire Fire and Rescue and the young people taking part in Team got the recognition they truly deserve.”

On the day, His Royal Highness met with Lancashire young people who have taken part in Teama twelve-week personal development programme which helps develop self-confidence, leadership and employability skills. 

Team helps young people aged 16 to 25 gain new skills, meet new people, and take a qualification to help them move forward into work, further education or training. It includes a residential trip with outdoor activities, work experience and a community project.  

Tom Evans, 23, from Lancashire joined the Team programme in 2021 whilst living in supported housing, having recently completed a drug rehabilitation programme. Now Tom works full-time supporting other people to overcome addiction and homelessness. 

“Before Team, I was involved in County Lines and was heavily addicted to Class A drugs and prescription medication. When I began the programme, I didn’t trust other people or even myself.” 

“On the programme I started to see that I could be a leader and I took a few lads who were going down the same route that I was under my wing. Team helped me commit to things and believe in myself a bit more.”

Chris Peake, Director of Delivery at The Prince’s Trust, said: “We are so proud to have been working in partnership with the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service for over two decades to help local young people change their lives.  

“Programmes like Team enable The Prince’s Trust to give unemployed young people the support they need to build their confidence and skills and get ready for work. It has been an honour today to show the impact of the Team programme on young people in Lancashire, and to share this celebration with our Founder and President His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. 

“Together with LFRS, we look forward to supporting even more young people in Lancashire to fulfill their potential through Team.”  

Chief Fire Officer, Justin Johnston adds: “Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is delighted to host the Prince’s Trust programmes in Lancashire and it is a privilege to welcome His Royal Highness to Morecambe Fire Station.  

“Last year, we were immensely proud to have celebrated 20 years of the partnership with the Prince’s Trust. Being able to support over 6,000 young people, act as role models and see the difference that it makes to people’s lives and our local communities is very humbling.  The difference we make in those short twelve weeks is huge and rewarding for all our staff involved in the delivery of the courses.” 

The Prince’s Trust helps young people all over the UK to build the confidence and skills to find employment. The youth charity has helped more than a million young people since it was founded in 1976 and three in four of those supported over the last five years have moved into work, education or training.  

Young people wishing to find out more about The Prince’s Trust and what courses are running in their local area are encouraged to visit princes-trust.org.uk or make a free call to 0800 842 842.  

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