There was a real buzz around the Hartpury campus today (September 15th) as students enjoyed a fun and fact-filled day dedicated to the wellbeing of their minds and bodies.
The College, with the support of Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning and the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership hosted an action-packed ‘WellFest’ day that offered around 3000 students the chance to take part in activities and educational workshops and access advice that could save their lives.
The workshops delivered included positive mental health and personal and cyber-safety, while a theatre performance put the focus on domestic abuse in teen relationships.
Hannah Gadras, 16, who is studying for a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Horse Management (Equitation), said: “I went to all three sections focused on different messages aimed at keeping us safe. I was really surprised about all the support that’s available to young girls like me around things like domestic abuse and self-harm. It’s really useful to know where to go for support if you ever experience these things.”
The students also had the chance to witness a hard-hitting road traffic collision (RTC) scene and investigation and see first-hand the actions of the emergency services and the impact on them, as well as the people involved in the collision. They also heard an emotional speech from Rebecca Pain, who lost her son Ollie, in an RTC.
Students also felt the impact of hitting a vehicle at seven miles per hour and tried their hand at driving go-karts with distraction goggles, which simulate the effects of driving under the influence of drink and drugs. There were even mounted police roaming around campus and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service demonstrated extracting casualties from a crashed car.
Josh Ellison, 16, a Level 3 Diploma in Agricultural Engineering student from Chipping Campden, said: “It was a real eye-opener how much more difficult it was to control the go-kart wearing the goggles and certainly brought home the message not to drink and drive!”
Students were able to climb aboard the NHS Information Bus, learn how to resuscitate people safely, have their blood pressure taken and post their thoughts on a ‘positivity tree’.
Lewis Sweeney, 18, who is studying A Levels in maths, history and business at Hartpury, said: “This event is fantastic in delivering messages and information that are really crucial for people of our age, especially around road safety and sexual health. It is hard-hitting and it does put fear in you but that just means it will stick in your mind.”
Exhibitors at the event included Victim Support, the Gloucestershire Hate Crime Partnership, Hope Support Services, the Hollie Gazzard Trust, the Samaritans, the British Horse Society, Young Carers and Teens in Crisis – Hartpury College’s official charity – along with Hartpury’s own student support services, including Hartpury Active and the counselling service.
Jessica George, 18, an Advanced Diploma Fitness student from Newent, said: “I’ve heard from so many different exhibitors, like Midlands Air Ambulance, the NHS Information Bus, the Hartpury Students’ Union and Hartpury Active, and learned a lot. We had a wellbeing check too and watched the resuscitation rally. That was really just a refresher for me as I’m a lifeguard at GL1 but I think it’s a really important skill for young people to have.”
Hartpury Principal, Russell Marchant, said: “Wellfest is fantastic for enabling all of College and University Centre students to interact with all of the different organisations that can offer them support on and off campus and access all the information and advice they need in one place.
“What they have learned today will help them stay safe and well as they become adults and, just as importantly, they will know where they can turn to for help in the future.”
Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Martin Surl,said: “Encouraging young people to drive more safely and responsibly is something I care deeply about - that’s why I made it one of the priorities of my police and crime plan.
“For the past three years, this event has enabled this message to be delivered really effectively and powerfully to the students at Hartpury, who are at an age where they are most at risk of being hurt in a road traffic collision. The lessons the Hartpury students have learned today could save their lives.”
Fiona Quan, Lead for Health and Wellbeing (Education and Learning) at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “I know how committed Hartpury is to promoting the health and wellbeing of its students and Wellfest is simply an extension of the good work that is already going on there. We’re proud to continue to support Hartpury with that. It was great to see the campus so busy and to see the engaging so enthusiastically with all of the activities and the organisations.”