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Mental Health Awareness Week, which takes place from 8 to 14 May, is a great chance for us to learn more about mental health, and show our support for those around us who might be suffering with depression, anxiety and other issues.

With one in five young adults having a mental health disorder according to charity Young Minds, this is an issue that affects everyone. You may suffer from a mental health condition yourself, or you may have friends, fellow students or family members who are struggling with mental health issues. Either way, being open about mental health, and starting a conversation about the challenges it brings, can make all the difference.

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week focuses on ‘Surviving or Thriving?’ Instead of asking why there are so many people living with mental health problems, the focus of the Week will be on why too few of us are thriving with good mental health.

The College will be supporting Mental Health Awareness Week with a series of posters which you’ll see around our campuses. Along the theme of ‘Surviving or Thriving’, these will highlight some of the famous people who have succeeded in spite of their mental health issues – such as Demi Lovato (who has suffered from Bi-Polar disorder and Bulimia), Lady Gaga (who has been affected by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and JK Rowling (who has battled depression).

You can share your own stories about surviving or thriving with mental health issues with the hashtag #MHAW17. Find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week 2017.

Our technical theatre students got an exciting taste of the real world when they took part in a masterclass by internationally acclaimed company Charcoal blue.

During the session, students were challenged to design their own innovative theatre and performance spaces from scratch, and pitch their ideas to the Charcoal blue team – with the added incentive of theatre vouchers for the winning concept.

Charcoal blue is the most innovative and largest theatre and acoustics consultancy in the UK, with studios in London, New York and Melbourne. The company’s portfolio includes world famous companies like the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and the new Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center Site in Manhattan.

Course leader Ian Shillito says: "The relocation of Tech Theatre to the Southwark campus has positioned us right in the epicentre of the Capital’s newest and fastest growing creative arts hub. The workshop with Charcoalblue is the outcome of a new 'Friends of Tech' development strategy which has the key aim of introducing our talented students to our industry neighbours with a view to progression and long term partnerships." 



The reputation of our skilled floristry students has spread far and wide, judging by the variety of events where their services have been requested in the near future.

Within the next month floristry learners will be creating the flowers for the Norwuz New Year event for the Afghanistan & Central Asian Association; an RAF Benevolent Fund event for 240 guests in Holborn; a staff/company floristry workshop; and a wedding at Devonport House Hotel, as well as providing the pedestal and wreath for a funeral.

Then in July, our floristry students have been asked to create a floral display for a staff summer festival at Newbury showground organised by Immediate Media – which previously commissioned the College to provide flowers for its Radio Times party.

These valuable work experience opportunities form an important part of our florists’ learning at the College, giving them a true insight into what it takes to succeed in the industry.

Tutor Louise Roffey says: “We aim to give students a variety of work experience which puts their skills to the test, and they always rise to the challenge. We are really proud of what they achieve, often working to very tight deadlines, and the great impression they make on events organisers and guests.”

Our drama and dance courses have an incredible record for helping students to progress on to university – and this year’s talented Level 3 students are no exception.

Eight drama students have beaten off stiff competition to win much sought-after places at leading universities and drama schools, while eight dance students have gained places at some of the country’s most elite dance schools, conservatoires and universities – with many students getting multiple offers!

Level 3 drama student Selina Jones has scooped offers at London’s Queen Mary University to study BA Theatre and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) for BA Acting, and made it through to the second round auditions of LAMDA, Rose Bruford, East 15 and Royal Welsh. An amazing fourteen offers have been received in total by students Selina, Jake Mills, Indre Navickaite, Danny Cox, Rae Kelly, Cian Feasey, Emanuel Mendes and Alfie Russell to study at Queen Mary, MMU, Southbank University, Coventry University, Goldsmiths University of London and the Royal School of Speech and Drama.

Our dance students have been just as successful, gaining places at some of the most prestigious dance schools, conservatoires and universities in the country. Josmaury Bandes Becerra and Andrei Nistor have received offers from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (while Andrei is also waiting for a recall at London Contemporary Dance School); Jonah Allen, Arethajay McEwen and Goran Gbo from Bird College; and Irene Andrea Paniagua, Abigail Rose and Rishan Walker from Middlesex University – which is renowned for its dance degrees.

Showing the highly professional standard they have achieved at the College, the dance students performed at Catford’s Broadway Theatre on 15 March as part of the Lewisham Live Dance Showcase, where they were chosen to close the show.

Head of Performing Arts Jon Fell says: “Our drama and dance students have come such a long way since they began at the College, demonstrating exceptional dedication and hard work day in, day out. They have fought off fierce competition to gain offers at these leading institutions and we are incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved.”

Lewisham Southwark College was delighted to welcome a delegation of education agents from Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran on a UK familiarisation tour on 22 March specially arranged by the British Council.

A great opportunity to reach out to international students wanting to come to a leading London college for English language or other courses, the visit was a resounding success, with the agents enthusiastic about everything the College has to offer.

During the day, the four international agents listened to presentations on our range of international courses, our approach to teaching, and how we support students’ progression. They were given a full tour of the College and got the chance to sit in on an English language class and chat to some of our international students. We also worked with Britannia Student Services to enable the agents to visit local student accommodation.

Janet Lunam, Head of International, organised and hosted the day along with International Manager Shazi Giner and Vice Principal: Curriculum, Teaching & Learning Gordon Gillespie.

Janet says: “The familiarisation tour was a fantastic opportunity for us to demonstrate what a great place the College is for international students. The agents were very impressed with the excellent facilities our Southwark campus offers, our central location, and the high level of support we offer students from all over the world.”




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