1. College is open with safety measures in place

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    We’ve made our college campus as safe as possible and we are now open to many of our students. If you haven’t already, please speak to your tutor before you return to college.

    We understand that you may have concerns about being at college during the pandemic, but the safety measures we’ve had in place have proved a real success at controlling the spread of Covid-19. We want to reassure you that we are teaching in a Covid-19 safe environment and we will continue to implement extensive measures to ensure student and staff safety. The safety of students and staff is at the forefront of all our plans for on-site learning.


    To keep everyone even safer at college campus, it is expected that all students who attend will take a Covid-19 test twice weekly.

    Our college has had successful safety measures in place and these tests are an additional safety measure. Testing is really important because Covid-19 cases can show no symptoms, allowing it to spread without the host realising.

    We’ve created a helpful video to show how testing is done at college.

    Further education students can now take tests at home twice per week. This process may be different if you are an apprentice, higher education or adult learner, so please speak with your tutor to confirm your approach to testing.

    For any students who are self-isolating, remote education will continue. If you are a student and have any questions, please speak with your tutor.

    How to take a test

    Taking a test is quick and easy. Watch this video from Public Health England to see how it’s done. You can also read the guides below.

    How to take your tests (with a helper) 

    How to do a rapid Covid-19 self-test 

    We’re responding to advice and guidance from the Department for Education. If this guidance is updated, our plans may change. 


    Please have a read of our FAQs, which may answer some of your queries. Make sure to speak with your tutor if you have any further questions.

    Safety measures on campus

    Our college has had successful safety measures in place to control the virus and these tests are now an additional safety measure.

    Returning to college is important for the quality of our students’ learning and wellbeing. We will continue to take safety measures seriously to keep our students and staff safe. 

    This includes:

    • testing for staff and students (as described above)
    • the continuation of social distancing measures
    • wearing face coverings 
    • the ‘bubble’ grouping system
    • increased hand sanitiser stations on campus
  2. International Asexuality Day

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    On 6 April, people across the world will be raising awareness for International Asexuality Day

    This day aims to celebrate the full asexual spectrum, focusing on four key themes: advocacy, celebration, education and solidarity. 

    What is asexuality?

    Asexuality is a spectrum of identities related to an individual not experiencing sexual attraction. It is paired with aromanticism, which refers to people who do not experience romantic attraction. 

    These are collectively known as A-spec identities, which encompasses a number of different experiences within these categories. 

    Asexual people are part of the LGBTQ+ umberella, because they do not experience attraction to another gender.

    Many asexual people have found it helpful to describe their identity in more detail, so there are many sub-identities to be aware of:

    • Asexuals – who don’t experience sexual attraction, but may experience other forms of attraction, such as romantic attraction.
    • Aromantics – who don’t experience romantic attraction, but may experience sexual attraction.
    • Aro-aces – who don’t experience romantic or sexual attraction.
    • Grey-asexuals – who experience sexual attraction only very rarely.
    • Demisexuals – who experience sexual attraction only after forming a close bond with someone.
    • Sex-repulsed asexuals – who have an aversion to the idea of having sex.
    • Sex-favourable asexuals – who like sex despite not experiencing sexual attraction.
    • Aegosexuals – who can find things arousing despite not feeling sexual attraction.

    Why do we have a day dedicated to asexuality?

    Asexuality is relatively unfamiliar to many people, so today aims to raise awareness for asexual and aromantic people. 

    The day also hopes to tackle discrimination against asexual people, including a range of prejudices, such as negative attitudes, behaviours and feelings toward people who identify as part of the asexual spectrum. This may look like the belief that aromantic and asexual people:

    • Are less than human or against human nature.
    • Are deficient or broken as a result of mental illness.
    • Have just not met the ‘right’ person.
    • Are confused or ‘going through a phase’.
    • Cannot experience love and have relationships.
    • Are ‘prudes’; that asexuality is a choice rather than an orientation.
    • Don’t face oppression and are damaging the LGBTQ+ cause.

    How can we support A-spec people?

    Educating yourself about asexuality is a good place to start. Take a look at some key resources, such as this Shades of Noir video and Stonewall’s six ways to be an ally to asexual people.

    Validating the feelings that A-spec people have is a great way to show your support. Society tells these people that they’re broken, which can be a really difficult experience. One way to help is by not assuming that everyone has or wants a partner.

    If you think you might identify as asexual, there are plently of resources to help you explore this. This Reddit thread looks at some key asexual FAQs.

    Support services


    Harrogate-based group which offers support and advice to young LGBTQ+ people (aged 13-25). 

    LGBTQ+ Harrogate Youth Group

    A group to offer support and advice to young LGBTQ+ people. This organisation offers a safe place to meet as well as useful information sessions.


    A UK-based charity providing advice, support, research and lobbying around the issues of LGBTQ+ policing.

    The Asexual Visibility and Education Network

    The world’s largest online asexual community.

  3. International Transgender Day of Visibility

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    What is International Transgender Day of Visibility?

    31 March 2021 marks the 12th annual International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV). This global event takes place to celebrate the success and resilience of trans and non-binary people and raises awareness of transgender rights.

    Over the past few generations, we’ve seen a significant increase in transgender movements as a result of the predjudices some people have towards the transgender community. 

    Although there are holidays to acknowledge transgender people who have suffered, such as Transgender Day of Remembrance, TDoV highlights the positive elements of what being transgener means and aims to take action in changing the biases of people who don’t understand transgender. 

    What is the history?

    The day was originally created back in 2009 by Rachel Crandall, who is the head of Transgender Michigan

    Rachel asked the question – why isn’t there a holiday to celebrate transgender people? 

    While we have Transgender Day of Remembrance to commemorate the transgender people who have died without recognition, Rachel wanted to create a better way to celebrate the lives of transgender people.

    TDoV was brought about to help empower trans people, encourage allies to voice solidarity within the trans community and educate people about trans issues.

    How can I support?

    In recent years, there has been increased visibility of our transgender communities. However, 2020 went on record as one of the most dangerous years for transgender and non-binary people, specifically impacting trans women of colour and youth. Therefore, it’s incredibly important that we help make change.

    In order to support the transgender community, we need to learn about the issues that are important to them. Have a read of some transgender FAQs here

    It’s good to have an idea of the appropriate terms to use, which can be viewed on the Stonewall Glossary.

    Listen to the experiences of trans people like Shash and Roch on what the Gender Recognition Act reform means to them.

    Raise awareness of trans rights and help to build understanding by sharing The Truth About Trans with friends, family and colleagues. 

    Becoming an ally of transgender people will help change the culture, making society a better place for the community. It’s important to remember the following tips to help you to become a better ally.

    You can’t tell if someone is transgender just by looking 

    Transgender people don’t look a certain way. You should always be mindful and assume that there may be transgender people in any space.

    Don’t assume a transgender person’s sexual orientation

    It’s important to remember that gender identity and sexual orientation are two different things. Gender identity refers to our own personal sense of being a man, woman or neither of those binary genders. However, sexual orientation focuses on who we’re attracted to. 

    Transgender people can be gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual or straight.

    Listen to pronouns

    If you’re unsure on which pronouns to use, listen first to the pronoun other people use when referring to them. If you must ask which pronoun the person prefers, state your own first, such as “Hi, I use the pronouns she and her. What about you?”

    Take a look at more tips on how to become a better ally to transgender people here.

    How can we celebrate International Trans Day of Visibility?

    The Covid-19 pandemic has limited in-person celebrations, however we can celebrate by looking through useful resources.

    Hear from transgender people about their experiences here.

    TransEDU provides resources for raising trans awareness including posters and workshop materials.

    Gendered Intelligence has produced useful information on the issue of bullying for trans and gender variant students in colleges.

    The Department for Health has created a guide for young trans people in the UK.

    Accessing support

    There are many options for support for transgender and non-binary people across the country. 


    A database where you can find a transgender support group near you.


    A charity that hears and gives a voice to trans and gender non-conforming individuals, including those who are non-binary and non-gender.


    A charity to support LGBT Muslims and runs a support group for trans Muslims.

    Trans Bare All

    An organisation running events and retreats to help members of the trans community explore body positivity, emotional wellbeing and intimacy.


    Confidential telephone helpline offering emotional support to any individual.

    LGBTQ+ Society

    As a student at Harrogate College, you have access to the Leeds City College LGBTQ+ Society, which provides a safe space or those who identify as LGBTQ+ to be fully themselves without fear of judgement, criticism or discrimination. The society also welcomes straight allies who are encouraged to attend events.

    If you’d like to get involved, visit this page to see what’s going on.

    We also have a LGBT+ Forum for staff. Get in touch with Lisa Jordan if you’d like to find out more.

  4. The importance of testing

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    Harrogate College is currently offering Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests to its students, as are schools and colleges across the country. We are asking students to come in to protect the wellbeing of our college and our community. 

    Here is some information on why that is important.

    Why should I get tested?

    Around one in three people with Covid-19 don’t display any symptoms. Although this person may be feeling fine, this means they could attend college, get on public transport and see many people while spreading the virus.

    Asymptomatic testing is key for identifying and isolating individuals who have Covid-19. This means these people can isolate and stop the spread. This will lower virus rates and protect our communities and the NHS.

    We should all play our part to reduce the transmission of Covid-19.

    The effective testing of students at college means we can return to face-to-face learning safely. Therefore, it’s important for all students identified on the testing timetable to take the opportunity to attend college for testing. 

    Getting tested

    Before returning to college, there are actions that you should take which you can view here. You must only come into college for testing if your group is identified on our testing timetable.

    Students taking the Covid-19 tests will have three tests on campus, which will happen three to five days apart. After this, students will receive LFD self tests to use at home twice per week. 

    Your teacher will provide you with more information about what happens when you come in for your test. You can watch this video to understand how testing is done at college.

    For further information, you can view our FAQ sheet here. If you have any additional questions, please get in touch with your teachers. 

  5. Adult learner fulfills desire to help others

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    The need to help others is one that mature student, Alan Stukins, was incredibly keen to pursue. 

    Although Alan had been self-employed for many years, he decided to switch priorities from chasing profits to learning how to help people in their time of need. 

    With the hope of becoming a paramedic, Alan chose to study the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Health Science Professions.

    Finding the right path

    Alan has worked in various roles over the past years, but struggled to feel fulfilled by the work he was doing.

    “In my previous roles, I felt I was not reaching my full potential. I have been self-employed for a few years, however I felt I had lost part of who I was in constantly chasing profits and struggling to pay the bills. 

    “I had always dreamed of becoming a paramedic, knowing that I could make a positive impact on people’s lives and feeling like I’ve made a difference. 

    “Returning to education after many years has given me time to reflect. When I was younger, I lacked direction and motivation. However, now at 39 years old, I feel ready to completely change course and pursue a career that I’m excited about.”

    Never too late to learn 

    When Alan was younger, he felt unable to attend university due to his lack of formal qualifications. 

    “Although it’s a daunting step to take, I thought that rather than being 45 and still feeling held back and unhappy with my job, I should go back to education so I can follow the career path I really want.

    “I have really enjoyed meeting my classmates at Harrogate College. It’s great to see a range of students from different backgrounds and ages, who are all really supportive and friendly. It’s been fascinating to get back into practical science work; each session is so engaging and the study and research skills I’ve learnt are invaluable.

    “The Access course provides a great introduction to things like Harvard referencing, self-directed study and planning scientific assignments. It will prepare me very well for the transition to university, so that I can go on to succeed in the profession.”

    Continuing the academic journey

    After completing his Access course, Alan hopes to study at university and then work within the ambulance service. 

    “Once I’ve completed university, I hope to be an ambulance service paramedic for a few years. After that, I’m open to moving around within that field or returning to university to research and teach. 

    “Coming back to college has made me so excited to learn; I can now focus on what I’m passionate about, rather than worrying about income from being self-employed. 

    “My biggest achievement has been my ability to commit enough time to studying to get good grades while battling a reduced income from my business due to the pandemic.”

    Find out more about the Access to Higher Education Health Science Professions course here.

  6. International Women’s Day

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    International Women’s Day is an annual celebration of the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women.

    On 8 March each year, people come together across the globe to rally for women’s equality through widespread activities. 

    Why is this day important?

    Although the world has made significant progress, no country has yet achieved gender equality. 

    According to the United Nations, legal restrictions have kept 2.7 billion women from accessing the same choice of jobs as men. As of 2019, less than 25% of parliamentarians were women. Additionally, one in three women experience gender-based violence. 

    This day gives us the opportunity to reflect on the progress made, raise awareness of women’s equality and celebrate acts of courageous women who’ve made an imprint on our history and communities.

    Clearly, there is much more to be done in the fight for gender equality, so we want to strive to  make a positive difference for women. 


    This year’s official theme, #ChooseToChallenge, encourages people to speak out against gender bias and inequality. From challenge comes change, so by embodying this theme, we can help create an inclusive world.

    The United Nations has also announced the theme ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a Covid-19 World. The current pandemic has demonstrated how effectively women leaders and women’s organisations have been leading the Covid-19 response through their skills, knowledge and networks. This theme focuses on the recent acceptance that women bring different experiences, perspectives and skills to the table.

    How are we celebrating International Women’s Day?

    On 8 March, we’re hosting a Choose to Challenge call from 4pm to 5pm to share ideas about how to challenge injustices. We will be discussing gender equality, access to education, period poverty or any other issue. 

    Everyone is welcome to join. Fill in this form by 3pm on 8 March and we’ll send you a link.

    Women in leadership

    We spoke with some of our women leaders at college to find out their thoughts on International Women’s Day.

    What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

    Stephanie Keedy, Programme Manager for Cultural, Contemporary and Heritage Studies at Harrogate College: “International Women’s Day makes me think about how far women have come, even just in my lifetime. There has been so much positive change and progression.”

    Anna Crossland, Deputy Head of Department, Curriculum and Quality at Harrogate College: “International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate how many opportunities women now have within the workplace, along with how efficient we have become in multitasking, juggling workplace commitments and family.”

    What does the 2021 theme #ChooseToChallenge mean for you in your work life?

    Stephanie: “The #ChooseToChallenge means that we should always challenge and question and we have a right to do so.”

    Anna: “#ChooseToChallenge is my everyday mantra! I am constantly striving to achieve and thrive on challenges. When I first came into the FE sector I had two young children alongside a full-time teaching post and a degree to complete. 

    Moving to now, I am still studying alongside my current role completing a BA in Business and Leadership. The role I am currently in is different every day with different challenges arising, however that is what keeps it interesting and exciting, I don’t think I could cope without a main professional focus.”

    Will you/your department be doing anything to celebrate?

    Stephanie: “My department, learners included, are collecting our brand new and lightly used bras, which we will be donating to I Support The Girls. This charity works tirelessly to raise money to help women and children who are fleeing the sex slave trade to start a new life. Bras are sought-after in underdeveloped countries, so this is an ideal opportunity to clear out and donate to a fantastic cause.”

    Anna: “We are working with the Student Life team to engage  students in the opportunities for women in the STEM area, with clips and activities to complete.”

    Why did you choose the career that you are in?

    Stephanie: “I always wanted to be a hairdresser and started a three year college course in hairdressing and beauty therapy. My fantastic time at college inspired me to teach the subject;  I have been teaching beauty therapy for a long time and I never tire of it.”

    Anna: “I chose my career because I like to work in an area where I know I can have a positive impact. I find working with young people very interesting. It is so satisfying when you meet them later in life and they’re happy and content in the career path that they have chosen, knowing that you had a positive input into their chosen pathway.”

    Why did you decide to work within the education sector?

    Stephanie: “I enjoy working with learners of all ages. I will never get bored of getting to know learners and seeing them progress. No two days are ever the same.”

    Anna: “To be part of the learner journey when students are at such a pinnacle point in the decision phase is very gratifying.”

    What does Harrogate College/your department do to overcome gender stereotypes?

    Stephanie: “In my department, we are inclusive of all genders. We do have some male hairdressing and barbering learners and always recruit a mixed group in media makeup.”

    Anna: “All subject areas are open for all genders, we are not gender specific. Students are enrolled onto courses that match their skill set and area of interest – gender does not come into it.”

    In your opinion, why is it important that more women take up leadership roles?

    Stephanie: “As more women are successful in management positions, the balance will shift in the right direction. We must do more to encourage women into these roles, but the opportunities must be made available and more accessible.”

    Anna: “It is important for more women to take up leadership roles so that young people have more role models. I don’t believe that gender should have anything to do with the decision to take up this type of role, it should go on suitability and the ability to carry out the role effectively.”

    What more do you think can be done to encourage more women into leadership roles?

    Stephanie: “We must make the pathway clear for the younger generation to see what opportunities they could achieve. I have a daughter myself and want to see her achieve her full potential.”

    Anna: “Advice and guidance from a very early age is important. Now that more workplaces are providing a flexible approach, this opens up more opportunities for women that also have commitments at home. This should be promoted to ensure that women know that the support is there and you can do both.”

    On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

    Stephanie: “Be a little bit kind to yourself. Women wear a lot of hats and juggle a lot, so give yourself a break, especially when things haven’t gone so well and start again tomorrow.”

    Anna: “I would like to say to women that it is never too late to learn or adapt your pathway. There are so many opportunities there that you can have the work-life balance and be successful. I started my studies after having my first child using my role as a mother as my main motivator to be a role model to my daughter.”

    Take a look at the International Women’s Day resources here and the Leeds City College Empowering Women resources here.

  7. Luminate Education Group launches new training centre for businesses

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    Luminate Education Group, a leading provider of education in Yorkshire, has launched a new training centre in the heart of Yorkshire to boost the skills needs of the region’s economy. 

    The Yorkshire Centre for Training and Development (YCTD) will offer bespoke training packages, specific to business needs and employee requirements.

    The centre will encompass the education group’s teaching expertise from Leeds City, Keighley and Harrogate colleges, delivering a range of compliance, professional development and redundancy support courses. 

    Lee Pryor, Director for YCTD, said: “With the ever-changing economic climate, we recognise businesses’ need to adapt their employees’ skills, to ensure a successful post-Brexit and post-Covid-19 transition. 

    “Our service will start with a complimentary skills planning session to understand the business, so that we can effectively identify its training needs, and match these to a budget. We will be offering in-person as well as virtual sessions that fit around the organisation’s schedule. We will then develop a bespoke training solution that meets those needs.

    “We’ll be working with a range of sectors, from law, education and social care, to engineering, digital, hospitality and hair and beauty. We want to support as many organisations as possible to grow and thrive, as they navigate the current economic challenges.”

    YCTD will be based in dedicated spaces across Leeds, Harrogate and Keighley. 

    To find out more or to book a complimentary skills planning session, please call 07814 818826.

  8. Celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month

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    What is LGBTQ+ History Month?

    First launched in the UK in 2005, LGBT+ History Month is an annual celebration promoting the education of LGBTQ+ issues and the history of the gay rights movement. The month aims to encourage a safer, more inclusive society where the diverse spectrum of sexuality and gender is accepted and discussed openly.

    Schools OUT, an organisation aiming to make schools safe and inclusive for LGBTQ+ students, brought about the first LGBTQ+ History Month in the UK, sparking over 150 events across the country in its first year. 

    This year’s theme is Body, Mind and Spirit. There are many ways you can get involved this year, including OUTing the Past presentations, LGBTQ+ curriculum lesson plans, taking a look at interesting resources and much more.

    What does it mean to identify as LGBTQ+?

    We asked members of the college LGBTQ+ Society what it meant to them. 

    “To me, identifying as LGBTQ+ means having comfort knowing that even if you don’t have anyone close who supports you, there’s always a community, a family, behind you ready to support you 100%. It means having a place to belong even if you don’t feel like you’re worthy of taking up the space you exist in.​” 

    “Being LGBTQ+ is standing out and being different from other people, being true to yourself and being who you truly are for yourself and not others.”

    “It feels like a relief that I’m not the only one who is different. It feels nice when I find someone who is the same as me, as we can help each other because we both know how hard it is to struggle with our sexuality. It feels good having people to talk to about this type of subject, as not everyone understands how you feel.”

    “Being LGBTQ+ to me means that I’m free to be who I am no matter what and I’m surrounded by people who are like me and accept me.”

    LGBTQ+ triumphs in history

    Over the past years, there has been significant progress in recognising the rights of LGBTQ+ people. However, it’s important to take time to reflect on this and how it happened. 


    The Beaumont Society was founded, providing information to the general public, medical and legal professions on ‘transvestism’ and promoted research aimed at a further understanding. The word ‘transvestism’ is no longer used and the current terminology for this is now ‘trans’.

    This society is now the UK’s largest and longest running support group for transgender people and their families.


    This year marks an important milestone in LGBTQ+ history, as the government implements recommendations from the Wolfenden Report for the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially legalised same-sex acts in the UK between men over the age of 21 conducted in private. 

    Although an important breakthrough towards equality, there was still a long way to go.


    The UK Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was set up following the Stonewall Riots in New York over the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community by police. Marsha P. Johnson, a black trans-activist, is a key inspirational figure in LGBTQ+ history, as she sparked a series of protests across the world following the Stonewall incident. 

    The GLF campaigned for rights of LGBTQ+ people, encouraging them to question the mainstream institutions in society which led to their oppression. 

    Often protesting in solidarity with other oppressed groups, the GLF launched the very first Pride march in 1972. Pride is now a hugely successful yearly event which is incredibly important for raising awareness of LGBTQ+ and acts as a symbol for oppressed people around the globe. 


    Although the GLF disbanded, this made way for the Campaign for Homosexual Equality; a Manchester-based organisation leading the fight for equality by legal reform. 


    The Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 was repealed, meaning students were now able to learn about homosexuality and LGBTQ+ history and rights, with the aim to create a more inclusive environment.


    The Civil Partnership Act was introduced, allowing same-sex couples to legally enter into binding partnerships.

    During this year, the Gender Recognition Act was brought in which gave trans people full legal recognition of their gender, providing them with a new birth certificate.


    LGBTQ+ employees were protected from discrimination, harrassment and victimisation at work through the Equality Act

    This also brought together existing legislation and added protection for trans workers.


    This year marked a significant benchmark in LGBTQ+ history, with the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act allowing same-sex couples in England and Wales to marry. Scotland shortly followed suit with the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act in 2014.

    It’s clear to see the progress that has been made over the last half century, but there is still much more to do for equality and social acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. 

    The LGBTQ+ community are still not treated equally in the UK and face oppression around the world. This month is particularly important in helping to fight for these rights and raise awareness. 

    We can learn from the lessons from our past history and use them to address the issues we still face in today’s society. 

    Celebrating at college

    This year, we will be celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month digitally! Take a look at our list of exciting events and resources across the Luminate Education Group here.

    Take part in our Pride Rainbow Quiz here.

    See how to join in on our LGBTQ+ competition here.

    For further details and information regarding resources or college events please contact or 

    Look at the Harrogate College Student Life Google Classroom to see how you can get involved in activities

    LGBTQ+ support 

    If you are struggling with mental health or just want to chat, there is plenty of support available.

    LGBTQ+ Society

    As a student at Harrogate College, you have access to the Leeds City College LGBTQ+ Society, which provides a safe space for those who identify as LGBTQ+ to be fully themselves without fear of judgement, criticism or discrimination. The society also welcomes straight allies who are encouraged to attend events.

    If you’d like to get involved, visit the page here to see what’s going on. 

    LGBTQ+ Foundation

    The foundation provides a helpline staffed by a team of dedicated staff and volunteer operators who have extensive training.

    Stonewall Youth

    Find information on coming out, health, and LGBTQ+ community groups near you.


    Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer mental health service.

    Mermaids UK

    Support for transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children, young people and their families.

    Gendered Intelligence

    Access a number of resources by and for trans young people and gender questioning young people in the UK and beyond.


    Harrogate-based group which offers support and advice to young LGBTQ+ people (aged 13-25). 

    If you’re interested in finding out more about the LGBTQ+ terminology and definitions, take a look at the Stonewall glossary here

  9. Student promotes wellbeing through shoebox initiative

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    Aspiring mental health nurse, Karis Grange, knows first-hand how mental health can affect wellbeing and is determined to support those who are suffering.

    As part of her college social action project, Karis has been volunteering at the Recovery Shoebox Project; a charity providing mental health toolkits for individuals who are struggling.

    A worthy cause

    After receiving a shoebox herself, Karis appreciated the thought and care that went into the box and wanted to help in making a difference.

    “When I was going through a difficult time, the shoebox really cheered me up – I couldn’t believe the effort that had been put into my bespoke box. I decided to volunteer at the Recovery Shoebox Project as my placement, as I wanted to encourage those struggling to not suffer in silence.

    “The initiative was founded and funded by Harrogate resident, Megan Reid, who sadly passed away in February 2019. Her mother, Jo, carried on the project in her honour in order to help individuals with mental health difficulties.

    “Due to Covid-19, the past year has been extremely difficult for many people, especially those suffering from mental health issues. The shoeboxes include useful items, such as tips to manage anxiety, self care ideas, stress balls and Megan’s envelopes of distractions and positivity.”

    Working with the project

    Each week, Karis works with the shoebox initiative to create tailored packages.

    “It’s amazing to be involved with such an important cause. I help organise the boxes and contribute to tips on how to manage insomnia, anxiety and PTSD, quote strips and reasons to carry on fighting. 

    “I really want to promote the message ‘It’s okay not to be okay’ and for individuals to reach out if they’re struggling.”

    Promoting wellbeing

    Karis studies Health and Social Care Extended Diploma Level 3 at Harrogate College and hopes to become a mental health nurse in the future.

    “Following a break from my studies last year due to my mental and physical health, I returned to college determined to pursue a career in the care sector. I’m passionate about talking to other young individuals about the importance of positive mental health.

    “Harrogate College has supported me to achieve my best, constantly helping me work towards my ambition of becoming a mental health nurse.

    “Working with the Recovery Shoebox Project helps me learn how to manage mental health illnesses. If my support with the shoebox has helped even one individual, it will have been incredibly worthwhile. Don’t suffer in silence – order a box if you’re struggling.”

    Read more about how you can work with the charity here.

  10. Studying from home

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    The government’s recent national lockdown announcement means many of us will be remote working and learning until at least 8 March. 

    We know remote learning can be challenging at times, so here are some useful tips to help you learn effectively from home.

    Wake up

    Set your alarm for the same time you would for school. This helps structure your day, giving you plenty of time to wake yourself up, have some breakfast and prepare for the day ahead.

    Get dressed

    Changing into some comfortable clothes when you wake up will help make you feel more productive.

    Find a work space

    Choose an area which is comfortable and quiet, away from noise and distractions. Set up a desk space somewhere, such as your kitchen table, so you can feel like you’re in a classroom. 


    Make sure to schedule in regular breaks where you can stretch your legs, move around and get a drink or a snack. It’s a good idea to have some time away from your screen or phone during these breaks, leaving your brain feeling refreshed and ready to learn when you get back to your desk.

    Stay organised

    Try and use your college workbooks when studying, this will help to keep all your work in one place and will avoid the risk of losing any work. Find a safe place, such as a spare drawer, to keep your work in.


    When you’ve finished learning for the day, pack up your things and move away from your workspace. This is really important, as it allows you to relax and reach a good study/life balance. 

    Fresh air and exercise

    Try to get some fresh air and exercise each day. During your breaks, head outside for five minutes to keep you feeling refreshed. At the end of your study day, try to get outside for a walk, this will really help to clear your mind and relax. 

    We appreciate that working and learning from home can be difficult for many, and we’re here to support each student. Please get in touch with your tutor or mentor at the college if you want to have a chat.

    To find out more about online activities and groups to join during this time, get in touch with

    There are also many local support groups who can help you through lockdown.

    Mind in Harrogate

    A charity promoting positive mental health across the district. Provides support through a telephone and email service.

    North Yorkshire Mental Health Helpline

    Free confidential service where you can discuss your mental health by calling 0800 561 0076.


Harrogate College

Hornbeam Park Ave, Harrogate HG2 8QT United Kingdom

Tel: 0113 386 1997