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Nescot’s students are part of an exciting new pilot project which launched today (February 28) aimed at helping lonely or socially isolated people in the community.

Brewing Friendships encourages organisations and charities to work together to identify and refer vulnerable people to the college, where they socialise in a café run by the students.

The project was set up in partnership with Epsom and Ewell Adult Social Care team, Ewell Rotary, Epsom Rotary, Age Concern Epsom and Ewell and Mary Frances Trust and Nescot.

“We feel very proud to be involved in such an important project, and we’re looking forward to seeing it go from strength to strength,” said Frances Rutter, Nescot’s CEO and Principal.

“Our students will learn a lot from being involved, but more importantly this is an excellent way for them to give something back and to make a positive impact on people’s lives.”

Brewing Friendships is aimed at improving people’s health and wellbeing and to help them feel part of their community.

The projects runs on Thursdays during term-time until June, and because it is sponsored by both Epsom and Ewell Rotary Clubs there is no cost to people taking part.

Everyone who attended on Thursday gave positive feedback and said they were hoping to return the following week.

“It has been an honour,” said one participant. “I have thoroughly enjoyed myself, and it has far exceeded my expectations. Everyone has been so helpful and it was better than anything I could have wished for.”

Students in Nescot’s Foundation Learning department set up the café and make the cakes, which this week included apple and carrot, ahead of the Seasons Café they run at the college twice a week.

Second-year students on the Level 3 Health and Social Care qualification run the sessions, including planning themed entertainment, and socialise with the visitors.

As they get to know their visitors they will then start to explore suitable activities and transport options within the community that match their hobbies and interests.

This week the students organised a music-themed café, with the visitors listening to music from the 1950s and 1960s and then taking part in a quiz.

“I was a bit nervous beforehand, but it went really well,” said Health and Care Student Mary Barnaville, who led the quiz.

“We worked really hard to research and prepare as much as we could. The visitors were so lovely and they all had such nice personalities, so we all really enjoyed ourselves.”

Nescot offers Care at Level 1 as well as specialist Health and Social Care and Childcare qualifications at Level 2 and Level 3.

Foundation Learning students can choose from a wide range of courses including Building Blocks, in which they choose two vocational roles such as catering, construction, retail or animal care.

Catering students arrange Seasons Café on Wednesdays and Thursday each week, in which they cook food from cakes to paninis and serve takeaway and sit-in customers.