They've loaned their 16-seater minibuses to The Wrekin Housing Group to allow them to deliver care to vulnerable housebound people across the West Midlands.. 

College minibuses are helping to deliver care to the elderly

Telford College’s minibuses are being used to provide vital care for elderly and vulnerable people during the coronavirus crisis.

The college has loaned its two 16-seater vehicles to The Wrekin Housing Group, to transport staff to its 10 extra care schemes, around Telford, Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Cannock, Stafford and Wolverhampton.

David Wells, executive director for operational services at The Wrekin Housing Group, said:

“This is a fantastic example of local organisations working together to help people most in need during these testing times.

“We are really thankful to Telford College for allowing us to use their minibuses.

“They will be put to good use helping to transport key care workers to our extra-care schemes, allowing them to continue delivering vital frontline social care and make a difference to people’s lives.”

Graham Guest, principal and chief executive of Telford College, said: “It’s important that everyone pulls together to help our communities through these unprecedented times.

“So we are delighted to have been able to make our two college minibuses available to the Wrekin Housing Group, allowing their staff to carry out such vital support work for society’s elderly and most vulnerable people.”

Image - The Telford College minibuses, which are on loan to The Wrekin Housing Group

• They've been in touch with the PRH to find out whether they needed any of the disposable masks or gloves from their hair and beauty training salons, and also donated more than 100 marker pens to the hospital..

College donates the ‘write’ stuff to hospital

It’s not just personal protective equipment (PPE) that hospitals are crying out for right now.

The Princess Royal Hospital is also finding itself short of crucial stationery supplies – and that’s where Telford College has stepped in.

Dave Candlin, the college’s director of estates, said:

“We contacted the hospital shortly after the lockdown began, to see if there was any way we could help.

“We thought they might be in need of equipment like disposable gloves, which we have on-site for use in our hair and beauty training salon, The Retreat.

“But it turned out the thing they said would help them out the most was a supply of marker pens!

“So we collected up what we had spare around our campus, and our caretaker Bob Jenkins has now dropped off more than 100 marker pens at the hospital porter’s department.”

Dave added: “Although our college is still open and delivering learning, the majority of our students are now working from home.

“This has given us the opportunity to do our bit, like so many others are doing, to help the NHS.”

Image -  Bob Jenkins with some of the marker pens which have been given to the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

• Their health and social care tutor, Elaine Colley, has gone back into the NHS after 13 years, to help on the coronavirus front line at New Cross hospital in Wolverhampton..

‘Brave’ tutor Elaine returns to the NHS front line

A Telford College health and social care tutor has returned to the NHS front line to help the fight against Covid-19.

Elaine Colley has started work on the respiratory ward at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, and been praised by colleagues for her bravery.

She joins several other past and present health and social care graduates from Telford College who are also performing key NHS roles during the coronavirus crisis.

Elaine qualified as a nurse in 1995, working at hospitals in Wordsley and Wolverhampton in specialist areas such as renal medicine, and cardiothoracic surgery.

Since retraining as a teacher, she has worked at Telford College for the past 13 years, and volunteers for The Silver Line, helping those suffering with loneliness or isolation.

At the heart of the NHS fight are former Telford College level three health and social care trio Leanne McVey, Rebekah Edwards and Katie Hanley.

Leanne, from Horsehay, a former Charlton School student, is now working as a midwife in Swindon.

Rebekah, from The Rock, is a mental health nurse on the female acute ward with the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

And former Telford Langley School student Katie Hanley, from Stirchley, is now working for West Midlands Ambulance Service.

At the heart of the NHS fight...

Telford College health and social care learner manager Sarah Cadenne de Lannoy, said:

“We’re very proud of them all. Elaine is being so brave stepping onto the front line, putting her life at risk to help others.

“During her time with us, she has helped many students on their journeys to becoming nurses, midwives, social workers, paramedics and many more caring careers.

“All the members of the health staff team here at Telford College have joined together and prayed to keep her safe during this time.”

She added: “We also have Emily Jones, a third year student nurse who has volunteered to work on the front line and is in accident and emergency at Russells Hall in Dudley.

“Emily could easily have stayed as a student and waited, but has decided she wanted to work and help.”

Several other Telford College staff members have signed up for the NHS Volunteer Responder Scheme, including Jane Forrest-Thompson, Martin French, Andrew Shouli and Sue Davey.

Jane has been accepted for the ‘Check in and Chat’ programme, which makes phone calls to vulnerable people, and helps with jobs such as collecting prescriptions and grocery, or transport to hospital appointments.

And Martin has been accepted by My Telford as a volunteer for the Telford and Wrekin area.

Telford College has also donated marker pens and poly pockets for use in Shropshire hospitals, and staff have been helping the community effort to source other much-needed items.

Graham Guest, Telford College principal and chief executive, said: “It is humbling and hugely gratifying to see so many of our colleagues, as well as our health and social care graduates, stepping forward to make such brave and selfless contributions. We are very proud of them.”


• Their staff have been rallying around to help local communities, from animal sanctuaries to local brownie packs.. 

College staff rally to help their local communities

Telford College staff are rallying round to support their local communities through the Covid-19 crisis.

Kim Scott-Webster, Louisa Maddock, and Lynn Hughes from the employer engagement team are among the latest to get involved, alongside Kelly Radford from the quality and exams area, and industry placement lead Lois Breen.

Kim explained: “I always volunteer by grass cutting at my church, St Catherine’s at Eyton, but in these difficult times I have also been working with fellow parishioners, ensuring those more vulnerable in our congregation get regular calls.

“Where shopping has been required, I am now supporting several individuals with this on a Tuesday. The group know if they get the shopping lists to me by Monday night, I will shop and drop things off.”

Kelly has set up a JustGiving page to help her uncle’s animal park in the grounds of Apley Farm Shop, between Telford and Bridgnorth. The aim is to raise £7,500 to keep the animals fed during the shutdown.

The fundraising page, which is already well over half way to its target, can be found at

Kelly said: “We had all the floods beforehand, and followed by Covid-19 it has left him struggling. My poor uncle and auntie are trying to do everything for the animals.

“As well as the JustGiving page, I’ve also contacted local supermarkets who have been willing to donate fruit and vegetables for the animals.”

Lynn, meanwhile, is now registered as a volunteer with her local doctor’s surgery and chemist, and is helping out with prescription collection and delivery for residents in the Newport and Church Aston areas.

And Louisa, also based in Newport, is a brownie leader in the town and trying to keep what she describes as ‘a form of normality for young people in such a difficult time’.

She said: “We have moved to virtual weekly meetings on zoom so that the girls can stay safe and connected, while also working on badges and activities together as well as practicing our girl guiding songs and history – like we normally would within the unit meetings.

“We are also setting Covid-19 theme activities such as posters, plays and games about staying safe.”

In addition to contacting Telford College students and company providers, tutors and parents on a daily basis with information and guidance, Lois is ordering and delivering weekly fresh fruit and vegetables to four vulnerable neighbours.

“I’m also cooking fresh meals for friends who are self-employed, and finding themselves financially challenged,” she said.

Image - Some of the donkeys at the animal park owned by Kelly Radford’s uncle, between Telford and Bridgnorth

• And a group of tutors have been 'sewing for the NHS'...

College tutors are ‘Sewing for the NHS’

A group of Telford College tutors have taken up the challenge to ‘Sew for the NHS’.

Art and design tutor Anna Dowdall has been joined by creative colleagues Monique Cronje, Claire Routledge, Paulette Kupiec, and Anna Bartlett – who has also recruited her elderly mother to help out too!

It is part of a facebook-driven campaign to keep medical staff at Shropshire’s hospitals equipped with vital supplies.

Anna Dowdall explained: “They are in need of scrubs, masks, hats, scrubs bags, hair bands with buttons on to hold masks in place and allow their sore ears to heal and wash bags.

“As I can sew, and have access to a machine with some scraps of fabric, I am able to contribute by making some bags and hair bands.

“Other colleagues are seeking to help out in different ways. For example, my colleague Penny Wells is trying to sign up to do volunteer phone calls – we’re all trying to help our NHS in whichever ways we can.”

• They set up a programme of distance learning courses in health and infection control to help upskill staff, earning praise from the West Midlands Combined Authority..

Distance learning courses on offer to upskill care workers

Telford College is helping employers upskill their staff to cope with the coronavirus crisis, by offering distance learning courses in healthcare and infection control.

The programme includes a level two distance learning certificate in the Principles of the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare Settings.

The West Midlands Combined Authority is promoting the college’s courses on a new advice portal, set up to collate some of the region’s most valuable online courses.

Sue Gomer, Telford College’s assistant principal for employer engagement, said: “Our care distance learning courses are perfect for employers who need staff to be upskilled to cope with current care demands across the region.

“We are seeing hundreds of thousands of people flocking to the NHS to offer their help, and during these uncertain times, there may be the need for individuals or businesses to develop new skills.

“The current circumstances highlight that few things are more important in healthcare settings than stringent infection prevention and control measures.

“Poor hygiene and cleanliness procedures can have serious ramifications for patients, staff and organisations alike. It’s crucial that all staff within a health-care environment understand their role in relation to infection prevention and control.

“The Principles of the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare Settings distance learning course is ideal for anyone who works, or would like to work, in a healthcare setting.

“It looks at the meaning and importance of infection control, as well as the causes of infections and the conditions in which they thrive and spread. It also outlines the methods used to prevent and control the spread of infection.”

The West Midlands Combined Authority says: “During these uncertain times there may be the need for individuals or businesses to develop new skills.

“We have collated a list of online courses that can help with anything from online and mobile banking for individuals to marketing for businesses.

“The coronavirus outbreak is transforming the way we live and work. Here at West Midlands Combined Authority we recognise the serious and unprecedented nature of this situation and are working hard to maintain essential services to businesses and residents and to keep our communities safe.

On their nomination, Graham Guest, principal and chief executive said:

"The staff and the students have been brilliant over the last few weeks, I am very proud."