Oaklands College put student well-being in the spotlight

Oaklands College ran the annual Student Well-being Week before Christmas, which proved to be a great success.


Oaklands College ran the annual Student Well-being Week before Christmas, with the emphasis on ensuring all students are in good health and mindfulness, in line with the local It’s OK To Say campaign.

The college ran Well-being Week between November 26-30th, which saw hundreds of students participate in a variety of events run by the OakExtra team at both the St Albans and Welwyn Garden City campuses.

Rhianna Hornsey, Belinda Jenner and Kirsty Armstrong, who head-up the Student Union and OakExtra team as well as running the newly built Well-being Centre at the Welwyn Garden City campus, staged a variety of engaging events for students, from sport to personal development, such as social and communication skill classes.

Oaklands College used Well-being Week as the perfect opportunity to bring students closer to the OakExtra team, working together with personal development teams, The Edge work experience unit, and the OSU (Oaklands Student Union).

Notably, the ‘Active 8’ Sports facilities in the brand new Well-being Centre, the college’s state of the art personal fitness facility, aimed at encouraging students to get more active inside and outside of college by promoting good health, lifestyle choices and using the state of the art machinery, designed for individuals to determine the condition of key core areas of their bodies such as body mass index, endurance, cardiovascular fitness, body fat percentage, strength and balance.

The College’s aim is to support students mental and physical well-being, in line with the local ‘It’s OK to say’ campaign, which encourages people of all ages to speak out about mental illness, confiding in others and surrounding yourself with supportive networks who are there to help you.

Encouraging students who are overloaded and struggling to cope with the profuse amount of studying, coursework, work life balance associated with education, OakExtra teamed up with ‘Stress Less, Relax to the Max’ meditation sessions to help offer Oaklands College students a safe space to escape to and discover a variety of stress management techniques, including feeling positive and methods to overcome negative thinking.

Staff members also got involved and engaged with the variety of events across an incredibly successful Well-being Week at the college.

Additionally, in the build-up to Well-being Week, the college organised drug and gun-knife crime activist Paul Hannaford to our St Albans facilities, to speak to hundreds of college students about the perils of drugs and the dangerous road it can take addicts down.

Speaking entirely from life experiences, after spending over £1.5 million on drugs throughout his life-time, stealing up to £5 million of goods from stores to fuel his addictions and regularly teetering on the brink of death, Paul’s story is an inspirational one.


Proudly, Paul is now over ten years clean and sober and has restored his relationship with his family, including his daughter, who plays a prevalent part in his harrowing story. 

Since turning his life around, Paul has traveled all across the country to hundreds of primary/secondary schools, youth centres, young offenders’ units and a variety of professional football clubs as part of their ‘football in the community’ projects. Paul speaks to over 50,000 children every year to warn them of the perils of crime and since 2009 he has spoken to well over 300,000 youngsters as he looks to ensure his story becomes an isolated one and not part of a common theme. 

Parents and students of Oaklands College have since praised the work carried out by Paul Hannaford, with one parent stating; “my son was very impressed with Paul’s story, he took it all in and when he got home from college he told me Paul’s life story, I’m thrilled Oaklands College covered this topic.” 

Speaking to The Herts Advertiser as part of her work with It’s OK to Say, Stacey visited the Well-being Centre to see first-hand what Oaklands College had been doing to promote good mental health.

“I wanted to find out more about the amazing work this dedicated and strongly focused on mental health team have achieved.

“With the funding achieved from Sport England, the Well-being Centre consists of a gym and relaxation/studio room for mental health and tackling inactivity.

“This passionate team is focused on student well-being. They are forward thinking and are so excited in working hard to achieve more for both students and staff (at the college). They really do have a lot to celebrate!”

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