Latest News | 15 December 2020

College recognised for work with asylum and refugee community

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Derby College Group (DCG) has become just the fourth in the UK to be awarded College of Sanctuary status in recognition of the support it provides to the asylum and refugee community in the city.

DCG is one of only two education providers in Derbyshire to be recognised by Derby City of Sanctuary, which is an umbrella group of organisations working to create a climate of welcome and safety for asylum seekers and refugees.

The college was recently presented with a certificate at an online awards ceremony attended by representatives from organisations involved in Derby City of Sanctuary, including the Mayor of Derby, Councillor Frank Harwood.

DCG has developed specific study programmes for young people and adults who are new arrivals in the city, which are based at main college sites including the Roundhouse and in the community at the St James’ Centre and Southgate Business Centre.

Students also benefit from a range of enrichment activities, including annual projects with Derby Book Festival, where they write short stories and poems which recount, among others, their arduous journeys to the UK in books which are published and sold.

DCG advanced practitioner Diana Smith said: “Having been recognised as a College of Sanctuary, we will continue to build on making our college a place of safety and learning for people from all over the world.”

Jennifer Rehman, DCG’s assistant principal of adult and community education, said: “Our work with the asylum and refugee communities fits with our overall mission to prepare students for the next stage of their lives.

“We pride ourselves on being an inclusive college, which champions social mobility.”

Adult student Bahareh Naghipouran, who came to the UK from Iran, is learning English at the St James’ Centre in Rosehill.

She has also been recruited to be part of the college’s Digital Advocates programme, to test and feedback on new and improved ways to develop virtual learning, both in the classroom and remotely.

She said: “It is particularly good to have the opportunity to work alongside people from many different countries and nationalities. We all accept each other and take time to learn about each other’s cultures.”

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