In Conversation with Andy Burnham
On Wednesday 23rd January, in response to OSFC’s amazing fundraising efforts before Christmas, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, visited the college to thank staff and students for raising over £1000 for A Bed Every Night and Oldham Foodbank.
Andy, founder of A Bed Every Night, stated:
“It’s amazing to see how Greater Manchester has rallied round; so many people are getting behind the campaign and it is growing all the time. I am pleased to say that A Bed Every Night is beginning to work and it has had a massive effect across Manchester by giving people a settled place to go to where they are warm and can shower. Looking after their basic needs means that they can start to think about moving forward again in their lives. It is vital that we continue to build on the work that we have done.”
Andy went on to outline his vision and future plans for Greater Manchester assuring the OSFC community that he will continue working to decrease the number of people sleeping rough, despite the fact that the funding for A Bed Every Night will not continue beyond March this year. Andy was also keen to share his thoughts on work related study, suggesting that a UCAS system for apprenticeship applications should be introduced. Our students were enthused to hear that a free bus pass will be provided to all 16-18 year olds later this year, which includes free and discounted entry to local sport, leisure and educational venues. He also stated that he hopes to continue his work in the role of Mayor by standing again for election in 2020.
During the visit, students and staff had the opportunity to ask a number of questions. A range of interesting topics were covered including mental health among under 18s, free education for all, unemployment, and homelessness in Greater Manchester.
Deputy Principal, Peter Roberts, the driving force behind OSFC’s fundraising along with Essential Life Skills Coordinator Rosie McClaren, said:
“As a college, raising money to support local initiatives like A Bed Every Night is a key priority in our efforts to develop our students’ life skills and community awareness. We aim to encourage our students to leave OSFC being able to demonstrate the characteristics of a model citizen, better equipped to acknowledge and support those in their communities who may be facing challenges and hardship.”
Andy Burnham is also supporting the ‘Raise the Rate’ campaign to increase funding for sixth form education, which was subject to deep cuts in 2011 and 2013, with the present funding rate being frozen since then.