A Manchester United Head Coach, an eight-time world record holder, and a sporting hero who captained England to victory in the Blind World Cup, all took part in Bolton College’s first Diversity Festival.
Tony Whelan, ex-professional footballer and Head of Coaching at Manchester United Academy, described to students the hurdles he overcame as a young black man in the 60s and 70s.
Mike Newman, blind since birth and breaker of eight speeding Guinness World Records, showed motor vehicle students his specially adapted kit car in the College’s STEM Centre.
Steve Cunningham, a talented footballer who lost his sight at 12, held blind coaching sessions, where learners experienced a game blindfolded.
All guests discussed their experiences of overcoming challenges, demonstrating the College’s commitment to ensuring that its diverse community are a valued part of college life.
The festival also included a Human Library, where visitors could ask questions of everyone from James Edgington, Bolton Pride founder and a Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist, to a student born in Afghanistan.
There were performances from the College’s Sing and Sign Choir, African dance from the Smile of Hope charity, Bollywood dancing from North West Asian Arts and student participation in the latest social media craze, The Mannequin Challenge.
Young Performing Arts students also joined forces with adults from the Bolton Octagon group for an inter-generational performance and play writing workshop. In the College’s Signature restaurant, catering students served up mocktails and food from around the world.
Jayne Tramontana, Head of Community Regeneration, said ‘Staff, students and volunteers worked so hard to put the festival together, and I’m delighted to say it’s been a resounding success. Our guests travelled from across the UK to join us, and the students were enthralled by their achievements’.
Marie Gilluley, Principal and Chief Executive of Bolton College, said ‘Celebrating diversity is an important part of College life, and staff and students embraced the day with enthusiasm. It was lovely to see students getting involved with the activities, and our speakers really gave our learners something to think about. I’d like to thank all of our guests for sharing their stories, and for making the day so memorable’.