Paws For Thought

Man’s best friend stole the show during a campaign to celebrate equality and diversity at Gateshead College.

A team of dogs from Wag and Co visited the college to highlight the important work they do to provide companionship to elderly individuals who may otherwise be isolated and alone. The four-legged friends joined staff and students during Gateshead College’s annual Equality and Diversity Week (February 4 – 8) which, this year, celebrated age.

Each year staff and students take part in a variety of engaging activities, which inspire thought and discussion around equality and diversity issues and a key theme to emerge this year was around the isolation and loneliness that the older generation sometimes feel.

This year’s schedule of events ranged from a breakfast event for retired engineers, a dinner dance and bingo session for the elderly to a workshop on menopause and andropause and a ‘celebrating difference’ exhibition.

Students fully embraced this year’s theme with business admin students becoming pen pals with elderly residents at a care home and music students performing nostalgic songs from the 50s and 60s. The college’s automotive and engineering students invited their elderly relatives into the college for breakfast and hair and beauty students showed off their skills with a demonstration of hair and make-up from the 1940s.

Staff and students also went out and about across the local area and helped create a community hub garden at Northbourne Care Home and others worked in the Age Concern shop in Gateshead. Beauty students treated the residents of Shaden House to a pamper session whilst the health and social care students visited care homes to ask the residents what impact living there had on their lives.

Inga Nelson who is studying on the Level 3 Health and Social Care course said: “Visiting the care home was great; it gave me a real understanding of how living in a residential home is a positive experience for those living there. I loved chatting to the residents and having fun with them. This will certainly help me with my course and future career.”

Throughout the week, the college also welcomed a host of guest speakers to its campuses including Silverline, the Alzheimer’s Society and Contact the Elderly.