College provides base for life-saving charity’s new branch

A charity that specialises in supporting men’s wellbeing will open its first Harrogate branch in January – here at the college.

Andy’s Man Club (AMC) has groups around the country but has had no representation in this part of Yorkshire, until now.

The organisation, which offers free peer-to-peer support sessions, will open its local branch at the campus on Monday 22 January, 2024.

Backing from soap star Dominic

The move is being supported by Emmerdale actor Dominic Brunt, who plays Paddy Kirk in the long-running soap. In a short video he created for the charity, Dominic said: “I’m overjoyed to let you know that there’s a new Andy’s Man Club opening in Harrogate, at Harrogate College.

“So see you there: it’s ok to talk.”

The branch, open to men aged 18 and over who can turn up whenever they wish, will run from 7pm to 9pm each Monday, apart from Bank Holidays.

An ‘invaluable service’ for men’s mental health

Our Pastoral/Safeguarding programme manager, Kerry Walker, said: “This is such a fantastic opportunity for learners, staff and the local community.

“Andy’s Man Club is performing an invaluable service in supporting men with their mental health and we are delighted, as a college, to be providing a space for them.

“Many of our learners will turn 18 while they are with us so they, along with so many people in the community, are set to benefit.”

The arrangements for the new branch were led by Neil Waine, who appeared in an episode of Emmerdale earlier this year when the storyline focused on men’s mental health, and saw ‘Paddy’ seek out a local AMC group for help.

Great support and and a great venue

Neil, a Project Development Champion (PDC) Manager for the charity, said: “We are really excited to get going in Harrogate and delighted with the college’s support.

“We have been trying to open here for roughly twelve months and once we had the right team in place it was time to find a venue.

“Having visited Kerry it became very clear that the college really wanted to support us and the size of the college gives the group scope to grow, so we’re confident this will be a successful venue.

“Having the support of Emmerdale, ITV and Dom Brunt, in particular, is amazing and we are very grateful. We got to know Dom really well when we were involved in an Emmerdale storyline, and he happily agreed to do the promotional video for our Harrogate group.”

To find out more send an email to: or follow AndysManClub Harrogate on Facebook.

‘A fantastic achievement’ – top grades for our artists

Our MA Creative Practice students have been celebrating completing their degrees in style.

Six learners, Catt van Leijen, Alexis Skarratt, Zoe Nicholson, Karen Hood, Hannah Alderson and Zoe Phillips, recently finished their degrees.

Between them they achieved five distinctions and a merit, to the delight of Creative Practice MA Programme Manager Dr Annabel Smith.

A celebration of talent

Annabel, who joined four of the students recently at their graduation ceremony, said: “For our six students to graduate with top results is a fantastic achievement and a real tribute to their talent and drive.

“It was a lovely moment of pride and joy to watch them receive their certificates. We also celebrated for the two who couldn’t make it on the day, Zoe Phillips and Hannah Alderson.”

Each student undertook a major final project to secure their qualification, with topics ranging from wild swimming and the threats of pollution, to the nature of creativity itself.

Life-changing projects

Alexis Skarratt’s Interruptions involved working with survivors of domestic abuse and incorporating their own words into a powerful multi-media installation.

She said: “I believe, as a mother of two children, that we should use the arts to explore topics that are difficult to address and as a starting point for meaningful conversations.”

Commenting on Alexis’ work, Dr Smith said: “This has been a life-changing project and deeply moving for all the participants and audience.”

For her final project Hannah Alderson, meanwhile, was inspired to explore the wellbeing benefits of working with clay after noticing how it had helped reduce her own anxiety.

Creative Practice student Hannah Alderson's poster for her Clay exhibition

Praising the resulting exhibition, tutor Caroline Miekina said: “Hannah’s posters, showcasing her research into exploratory activities with clay in the community, and her delicate, understated ceramics were presented to great advantage and attracted a lot of interest.”

Hannah is now working with health professionals with a view to starting a PhD on the subject.

Shining an artistic light on nature

‘Absolutely amazing!’

That is how MA Creative Practice student, Hannah Alderson, is feeling after her work was selected for a major exhibition.

Hannah and one of our graduates, Lisa Lundqvist, are among the artists taking part in the The Secret Life of Hedgerows display at Danby Lodge National Park Centre.

The pair’s paintings, prints and other works have already been viewed by thousands of visitors and will remain on show until Monday 6 November.

Lisa and Hannah were invited to get involved after exhibition curator Sally-Ann Smith had seen examples of their work at the British Craft Trade Fair, and was impressed.

Hannah, who is on course to complete her degree this year, is exhibiting a mixture of nature-themed collagraph prints and watercolour paintings.

Relishing an incredible opportunity – and course

She said: “My three watercolours are of thistles, which I love as they provide an excellent source of food and shelter for insects and birds along our hedgerows.

“It feels absolutely amazing to have my work exhibited and sold at such a beautiful gallery, surrounded by the stunning North York Moors.”

Reflecting on her course, she added: “The MA has been an incredible experience and I have gained so much confidence in myself, my work and as an artist. I focused mainly on ‘wellbeing through art’, in particular through using clay, and the course has enabled me to explore something that otherwise I’d not have been able to do.”

Artist Lisa Lundqvist with her paintings in The Secret Life of Hedgerows exhibition at Danby Lodge National Park Centre

Lisa, who graduated a couple of years ago, was also hand-picked for the Danby Lodge exhibition. She said: “Sally-Ann felt my organic, semi-abstract art suited the subject matter and she particularly liked the textural qualities I achieved by painting in oil mixed with cold wax medium.

“All of the artists were invited to a study day where we were given a guided tour of the farms, fields and hedgerows in the North York Moors National Park.

“It was exciting meeting the other participants and then seeing the results of all our hard work come to fruition. The differing artistic interpretations, mediums and styles makes for a fascinating and engaging exhibition.”

‘Just rewards’ for talented students

MA Creative Practice Programme Manager, Dr Annabel Smith, has been delighted to watch the progress of both artists.

She said: “This is exactly the kind of opportunity we love to see our students securing before and after graduation.

“It is a testament to Hannah and Lisa’s talent that their works are being featured in a high-profile display, alongside those of seven other skilled artists, like this.

“The exhibition will be seen by so many visitors who can admire both the quality and the scope of the work, which includes ceramics, textiles and print.”

The Secret Life of Hedgerows exhibition is free and can be viewed at Danby Lodge National Park Centre’s Inspired by… gallery.

Helping Harrogate’s young carers cook up some fun

Young carers have been putting their culinary skills to the test with us.

Members of the Harrogate Young Carers group – part of Carers’ Resource – have all had to shoulder the responsibility of looking after a sibling, parent or other relative at an early age.

That means they often have limited opportunities to enjoy themselves, so when they do get a chance to have fun they grab it.

The college helped them do just that recently when we invited 18 young carers along to use the training kitchens.

The visitors made the most of the opportunity by creating pizzas from scratch, batches of brownies and more. The event was supported by RAF Menwith Hill, which supplied the ingredients, and Heck Food Ltd, which donated a variety of sausages so the children could guess what each one was made of.

A great day out making treats

Young Care Practitioner at Carers’ Resource, Linda Hall said: “The young carers had a fantastic time; the feedback was that they had the best day ever, and didn’t want it to end!

“This was a chance for them to have some respite, away from their caring roles, and to be with others who are in the same situation. They had the pizzas that they made for lunch, made brownies to take home, and enjoyed quizzes about chocolate and other foods.

“The venue was perfect for them as they feel really grown up there, and love the whole set-up of the kitchens. We are very grateful to the college for the invitation and its support.”

The kitchens are usually used by our catering and hospitality students, including on themed dining nights which are open to the public. This autumn the facilities will also be used by those who sign up for two new courses, an After School Cookery Club and, for adults, an Italian cooking course.

A warm welcome for ‘extraordinary visitors

We have invited young carers in to use the kitchens before, as part of our wider support for the group. Hospitality Programme Manager, Jason Parry said: “These young people do extraordinary things every day for others, while also having to deal with their studies and all their other everyday duties.

“So they thoroughly deserve any chance they can get to have fun and enjoy some carefree moments.

“We are delighted to support groups like Harrogate Young Carers, which do such brilliant work in our local community, whenever we can.  They are welcome back any time.”

The team at Carers’ Resource supports young carers in the Bradford, Harrogate, Craven and Selby districts by organising trips, activities, mentoring, youth clubs and more. To find out more visit .

High fives from the High Sheriff

Our students have been rubbing shoulders with a high profile guest who once stood in their shoes – the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire.

It has been decades since Clare Granger was last at the campus as a student of fine art, but lots of happy memories came flooding back when she visited on Monday 11 September.

The High Sheriff discussed our sustainability work, our commitment to delivering an employer-led curriculum, and the plans for our new £20 million building with Principal Danny Wild.

She also enjoyed looking around our creative facilities, including textiles, painting, photography, ceramics, printing and media makeup, during a whistle-stop tour.

She said: “How exciting to be back here after quite a few years – I was here probably during the nineties!”

Creativity and wellbeing

Ms Granger was intrigued to hear about MA Creative Practice graduate Hannah Alderson, who is now exploring how working with clay can help reduce mental health conditions like anxiety.

MA Creative Practice Programme Manager, Dr Annabel Smith, told the High Sheriff: “Hannah noticed, when she started to work with clay, how it immediately helped her own anxiety and wanted to find out more.

“She’s now taken research into that further and is working with doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists with a view to starting a PhD: all while keeping a busy home life going.”

Ms Granger said: “Part of the theme of my High Sheriff year is exactly what Hannah’s doing, exploring the links between creativity and wellbeing.”

Technical training, including in green skills such as sustainable energy, low carbon construction, retrofit and electric vehicle maintenance, is at the core of what we do.

So the High Sheriff was also shown around the campus’s construction yard, where she viewed a model passivhaus building – created using ultra-efficient energy use standards – and the bricklaying and solar panels areas.

Lecturer Denise Cain, meanwhile, explained how the hair and beauty salons were producing skilled hairdressers, while Hospitality Programme Manager, Jason Parry, led a tour of the training kitchens.

Praise for our focus on technical skills

Reflecting on her visit, Ms Granger was full of praise for projects including the Harrogate College Employers’ Network.

She said: “What a wonderful initiative to find out what skills the businesses are predominantly looking for and to train the students accordingly. It sounds simple but so often we seem to struggle to provide the skilled workforce that is required. 

”I enjoyed seeing and hearing all about the various courses offered and it was so good to hear of the response by the college to sustainability.”

Referring to the new building, she added: “It certainly sounds as though that will be tremendously exciting. I shall certainly look forward to seeing it when it is complete.”

Danny said: “It was a real pleasure to welcome Clare, both as the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire and a very successful former student, so she could see all the different things we are doing now.”

The employers’ network, which was set up to create a direct link between the college and businesses, now has 127 members.

*Photographs by Matt Radcliffe Photography

Support for Harrogate’s young footballers

We are thrilled to announce that we have become the official sponsor of Harrogate Town AFC’s Player Development Centre.

The partnership reflects a shared commitment from the college and the club to help young people – in this case the district’s aspiring footballers – grow and succeed.

The Player Development Centre offers a platform for junior players to refine their skills, nurture their passion, and achieve their full potential.

Happy to team up with a brilliant club

Celebrating a new sponsorship deal – Harrogate College Principal Danny Wild and Harrogate Town AFC’s Commercial Director, Jo Towler

Principal Danny Wild has visited the club to see the players receiving their new, Harrogate College branded, kit. He said: “Harrogate Town AFC, just like our college, is committed to giving great opportunities to the district’s young people to help them flourish and grow.

“Collaborating with brilliant local organisations is in our DNA, and we know that sport brings all kinds of benefits – physical, mental and social – to those involved. So we are proud to be supporting the club, our local community and its aspiring young footballers in this way.”

Valuable support will make a difference

Harrogate Town AFC Commercial Director, Jo Towler, added: “We are delighted that Harrogate College has become the official sponsor of our Player Development Centre.

“The partnership reflects our shared dedication to supporting young people and fostering their development both on and off the field. We are excited to work closely with the college to create a positive impact on the local community.”

Harrogate College Business Newsletter – May 2023

Harrogate College prides itself on working hand in hand with local businesses and organisations to provide the skills and training they need to ensure that our economy grows and thrives. Our monthly newsletter is a handy way of keeping our partners informed of developments at the college.
To receive future Harrogate College Business Newsletters directly to your inbox click here

Business Newsletter – May 2023

Dear partners,

We were proud to be nominated for three Harrogate Advertiser Business Excellence Awards this year – and are absolutely delighted to now be able to say that we have been crowned winners in one of them! Read on to find out more.

May has been a busy time in college (despite all the Bank Holidays), and started off in fine style when we welcomed the local Chef of the Year finalists in to compete for the trophy.

We were also pleased to share some great news about two of our supported interns who are working at Harrogate Hospital – another success story for our partnership work with local employers.

Your Harrogate’s King of the Courses competition, meanwhile, is continuing to spark interest in our courses while providing some light-hearted fun for the station and its listeners/readers. We include an update on presenters Nick and Pete’s latest challenge in this edition of the newsletter.

I hope you enjoy the read!

Danny Wild
Harrogate College


Harrogate Business Excellence Awards
As this great photograph (taken by Gerard Binks Photography) shows – we were one of the winners at the Harrogate Advertiser Business Excellence Awards 2023!

We scooped the Sustainability Award on the night, in recognition of our work to deliver vital green skills training while reducing our own carbon footprint.

Principal Danny Wild said: “As a college that is fully committed to playing its part in tackling the climate emergency and supporting our businesses as they embrace green technology, we are delighted to see our sustainability work being recognised like this.”

The college was also a finalist in the Business in the Community and Employee Health and Wellbeing Award categories.


Awards for hospital interns
We’re proud to share the news that two of our supported interns have received a national award.

Lewis Grayston and Charlize Barik, who are both based at Harrogate Hospital, were recognised for their progress and achievements by Hft, a charity that supports over 2,500 adults with learning disabilities.

The pair were two of only 20 interns and graduates, from across England and Wales, to receive the award.

Find out more.

A ‘hair-raising’ challenge for presenters Nick and Pete
Nick Hancock and Pete Egerton, from Your Harrogate, have been coming to the college regularly since April to try their hand at all kinds of skills.

Their latest King of the Courses challenge saw the duo receive some quick, expert training on the art of hair styling, before putting what they learnt to the test on two ‘training heads’.

To find out how they fared, and more about the competition and the pair’s previous results, click here.

College welcomes top chefs for ‘cook-off’
We were glad to welcome some of the Harrogate district’s top chefs on Tuesday 2 May.

As has become an annual tradition, the finalists of the Harrogate Hospitality & Tourism Awards‘ Chef of the Year contest used the college’s catering facilities for their ‘cook off’.

The contestants were each challenged to create a delicious main course from a mystery box of ingredients.

The winner will be revealed at an awards ceremony on 12 June.

Work with us! We are a college that prides itself on collaborating wth the district’s businesses and community groups. To find out more contact Business Engagement Advisor Susan Roberts, email: .

We hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of our Business Newsletter.

A day to celebrate Afghanistan

As someone whose life has been threatened for playing football, Sabreyah Nowrozi knows all about the dangers that cause refugees to flee from their homelands.

Sabreyah was captain of the Afghanistan women’s development team when the Taliban – which bans women from competing in sport – seized power on 15 August 2021.

Instead of preparing for their next tournament, she, her teammates and their families all ended up scrambling just to escape the country alive.

Sabreyah has gone on to forge a new life in the UK, where she is continuing her football career with Harrogate Town AFC Women, studying with us, and working as a teaching assistant.

Shining a light on a country’s culture

On Tuesday 13 June (in the lead-up to Refugee Week), the 25 year old will help us hold our very first Afghanistan Day to shine a light on her homeland’s rich culture.

She said: “I think most people just know about the war and troubles we’ve had in Afghanistan, but this day will be a chance to show the other side and share information about our culture and the country’s positive qualities.

“We’ll be showing films about its history, from the old days to present times, which I think are amazing!

“We’ll also be sharing some artwork, poems, songs and readings, and traditional dress. There will be a selection of Afghan dishes – which I’m making at home, with friends – to sample too, for a small cost, with the money raised going toward women’s healthcare and education.”

Fleeing to safety and a new life

Sabreyah (left) is one of the players who have featured in Amnesty International’s Football Welcomes Refugees campaign

Sabreyah is studying English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). We have seen a recent upsurge in ESOL student numbers, which jumped from 60 in 2021-22 to over 140 this academic year. Many are refugees who have endured all kinds of risks to escape from places, like Ukraine and Afghanistan, ravaged by conflict.

Sabreyah’s own journey to safety – first to Pakistan and then, through a flight that was paid for by Kim Kardashian, to the UK – was fraught with danger, and saw her and her teammates interrogated at numerous Taliban checkpoints.

She said: “I had a very good time playing football in Afghanistan but when the Taliban came everything finished and, as a football player, I felt I couldn’t continue in the country.

“They were so angry with me and told me never to come back, or they would kill me. I thought: ‘we need to move, now’ – it was a dangerous time for me and my family,”

With the situation in Afghanistan still very unstable and the Taliban in power, Sabreyah is now focused on her and her family’s future in the UK – and has her sights set on a psychology course at the University of York. 

Afghanistan Day will be held in the Adult Learning Zone from 11am to 1pm.

Comic-con inspiration for our creative arts students

Our students have been showcasing their creative talents as part of an annual celebration of comic art.

The Thought Bubble Convention is a two-day event that marks the achievements of illustrators, graphic art, comics and fans.

Our level 3 creative practice students, who get free passes to the event, enjoy attending to meet artists and others from the graphic art community, and share ideas. The students also, as part of their coursework, get the chance to produce their own zine (a self-funded magazine or fanzine) from scratch to display at the convention.

The topics covered in this year’s zines ranged from Michael Ryder’s supernatural adventure comic, The Vengeful Beast, to a photographic meditation on mental health, by Laila Fairholm. Bronagh Humphries, meanwhile, used a concertina format, featuring iconic images of Scarborough, for her zine.

Rising to a unique challenge

The students all relished the challenge, which Michael hailed as ‘unique and fun’. He added: “I have found the course so far to be a very good way of improving my skills in the creative industry.

“Working with other creative people has made the atmosphere in the class very friendly and everyone is willing to help each other, which has helped me settle in.

“The Thought bubble convention was a very important opportunity to see other people’s work and learn how they promote it. The artists were very friendly and seeing what they were doing really inspired me. Having our work shown there, knowing it was being looked at by loads of people, was an amazing experience.”

A joyous creative experience

Programme manager for MA Creative Practice, Dr Annabel Smith said: “Over the last couple of years I have built a relationship with the organisers of the Thought Bubble Convention.

“We have used this opportunity to set an exciting brief for our level 3 creative practice students, with each setting their story within their own specialism to design and format a zine – whether it be photographic, illustrative, digital or hand-rendered.

“This year the students did themselves proud and produced a wide variety of styles, stories and outcomes. They all attended over the two days and realised what a broad range of artists and styles are out there in this community.

“To add to the fun, many visitors dress up as their favourite characters from comic adventures. It was a joyous and happy crowd of people, and our students really related to the creative atmosphere.”

Images from Harrogate College student Bronagh Humphries' Scarborough-focused zine
Part of Bronagh Humphries’ Scarborough-focused zine

Held at Harrogate Convention Centre, this year’s Thought Bubble Convention was held in November when more than 400 comic-creating exhibitors took part over the two days.