Easton College students try something new

It was a week when tractor drivers became dancers, footballers turned their hand to ethnic cooking and horse riders could try judo.

In fact, nothing was as it seemed for students at Easton College during its equality and diversity week.

Among the most popular events was a Zumba dancing and fitness session, led by expert Sallie-Anne Sadler.

This drew about 135 students and tutors to the sports hall for an hour-long session of aerobic style movement and free expression.

Other students gathered to try their hand at wheelchair basketball led by Gordon Perry, a member of the UK wheelchair basketball team for 15 years, who now runs Wheelchair Basketball Experience.

'Equality and diversity are part of our everyday lives at the college,' said Tanya Crofts, the project coordinator.

'But we decided to focus on that ethos for a complete week to give students first-hand experience of the challenges facing other students who might be just down the corridor or on the other side of the campus.

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'It raised their awareness of things they might never have come across or even thought about and was a chance for them to learn, have fun and, at the same time, extend their understanding of issues like equality, diversity, disability and ethnicity.'

The college's full-size horse simulator was used to give non-riders a first experience of life in the saddle and, for the optimistically agile, there was everything from salsa to ballroom dancing.

The animal care department gave advice on how students could better train the family dog and there was an opportunity to experience, with goggles and ear plugs, how to overcome problems of working with animals when visually and hearing impaired.

A few students were taken to the coast to sample some beach sports and to also learn about environmental issues on the shoreline and keeping the sands clean.

The Faculty for Foundation Level Studies students has been forging ahead with the college's plan principle of respect, equality and diverity by reopening a closed caf� on the campus to encourage 80 of its students to learn from the practical example of undertaking basic catering skills like ordering, preparation, cash till work and serving and interacting with other students.

Led by tutor Andy Smith and Charlotte Hardingham, the Full Circle Caf� has become such a success story, with steadily increasing income, that it is to be improved and extended with new features, like the introduction of a creative graffiti wall next term.

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk