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Brackenhurst hosts Winter Wellbeing Day for Further Education students

To wrap up the end of term and 2022, Brackenhurst held a Winter Wellbeing Pastoral Day for Further Education students.

A group of students walking donkeys on Brackenhurst grounds.
A group of students walking donkeys on Brackenhurst grounds

The week before Christmas, all Further Education students were off timetable taking part in some festive fun as part of the Winter Wellbeing Pastoral Day. Students could pick from a selection of activities such as donkey walking, baking Christmas cookies, dog grooming, and more.

Pastoral Days are held once a term for students. The aim of these days is to focus on students’ well-being and mental health, allowing them to take a break from their regular programme of study and experience something different outside their regular course content.

Starting on the North side of the campus, students were busy in the Millennium Wood, learning how to chop, drill, and whittle wood to make their very own reindeer decoration. Students also learned basic fire lighting skills, whilst enjoying some sweet treats of toasted marshmallows over the campfire.

Students working together to make reindeer decorations in Millennium Wood

Down at the Equestrian Centre, the festivities continued at the donkey shed, where non-equine students who typically don’t get the chance to interact with these animals, were allowed to take the donkeys for a stroll around the wintery grounds at Brackenhurst. Whilst over in the Animal Unit, dog walking and grooming sessions took place, along with feeding rabbits and gerbils. Students also got involved with some less furry animals in the reptile room, handling snakes, lizards, and tortoises.

These wellbeing days give students the opportunity to have different experiences that they would not necessarily get on their courses. Students are encouraged to take part in these activities to help with their wellbeing and enrichment whilst building up their confidence in trying new things.

The day continued with some indoor activities over at the Bramley building. In the food labs, students were busy baking and decorating their own Christmas cookies. Whilst next door, students could relax and watch films, or win some tasty prizes in the Christmas Quiz.

Students in the food lab decorating their Christmas cookies

This is the second Pastoral day the college has held this academic year. The first took place in October, when students were involved in many outdoor activities, such as shelter building, goat grooming, mindfulness walks, and outdoor games.

Robin Atherlay, the Deputy Head of Further Education commented: “Here at Brackenhurst, we know it’s highly important to give all students the opportunity to experience a wide range of activities outside of their normal college day. We also want to give them the chance to mix with other students of different ages and friendship groups from the wide variety of courses and levels we offer.

"Ultimately, we want to have a positive impact on the wellbeing of our students, and for them to gain a wide variety of experiences and skills, whilst developing their softer skills, such as resilience, communication, teamwork, and adaptability.

"The feedback we have received so far has been overwhelmingly positive and we are constantly refining the activities and format offered, to ensure we respond to suggestions the students have provided.”

Published on 24 January 2023
  • Subject area: Animal, equine and wildlife
  • Category: Current students; School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences