A team of Highbury College Prince’s Trust students have been presented with a top award for their community work.
Team 107, which included Harry Beard, Nathan Harper, Zara Collins, Joe Gallagher, Steven Robinson, Jason Toon and Hannah Cowdrey scooped the Community Impact Award for London and South East England at the Prince’s Trust Awards.
The seven-strong team was the first Prince’s Trust group in the country to be made up of students with learning difficulties.
The award recognises the group’s contribution to their community after they redecorated Portsmouth Day Services, a day centre for adults with disabilities.
The students spent two weeks removing old IT equipment, painting, putting up pictures and setting up new play equipment. They also transformed the garden, clearing rubbish and brambles, planting flowers and repainting the shed and picnic benches.
They even funded the transformation themselves – raising £250 for paints, tools and equipment through fundraisers including a five-mile sponsored walk, a five-hour sponsored silence and a cake sale.
Team member Nathan Harper said: “We liked the idea of helping Portsmouth Day Service Centre because we could all relate to it.
“It was two weeks of hard work, but it was worth it because the people at the centre love it.”
Steven Robinson, who was also in Team 107, added: “We improved the facilities for the service users and saved the staff a lot of work, which is a good thing because it means that they will get more time with the people that matter – the service users.”
Their assistant team leader Chris Boyd was with them at the awards ceremony on 15th November.
He said: "The atmosphere at the event was absolutely buzzing. All of the team members were slightly nervous but ecstatic.
"I felt very humbled to see it but also proud and inspired by the team's fantastic efforts."
Principal of Highbury College, Stella Mbubaegbu CBE added: “We are extremely proud of these inspirational students who have gone above and beyond to improve the lives of others in their community.
“They have not only transformed a much-needed service but also, by winning this prestigious award, they have shown the amazing heights that Highbury College students are capable of reaching.”
The award in Milton Court in London in London were funded by UK&I Enterprise at Dell EMC.
The company’s senior vice president, Dayne Turbitt said: “What Team 107 has collectively achieved is phenomenal and the London and South East Community Impact Award is truly deserved.
"The teamwork they demonstrated and the results they achieved are brilliant. We hope that the skills they have learnt will set them on a path to many more successes.”
Highbury College has run the Prince’s Trust 12-week team programme for around 20 years – however Team 107 was the first in the country to be tailored to people with learning disabilities.
The programme has been developed to build confidence and improve teamwork, helping people get back into employment, education or training while supporting and learning about their communities.
The Prince's Trust Awards were sponsored by TK Maxx and HomeSense.
Team 107 is now preparing to go up against another five teams in the national awards ceremony in spring 2018.
For more information about The Prince's Trust at Highbury College or to apply to be part of the programme click here.