Derby College duo's projects 'to bring people together'
TWO Derby College students have clinched funding for community projects which will help potentially isolated individuals to integrate and make friends.
Students were invited to submit their ideas for social enterprise projects with a shortlist put forward for start-up funding from the National Lottery of between £250 and £5,000.
Art and design students Clovena Brown, 18, and Ryan Freeman, 17, who both live in Allenton, will now receive £3,600 between them to help them set up their projects in the coming months.
Having moved to Derby from Jamaica last year, Clovena found it difficult to settle and make friends.
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Based on her own experiences, she is planning to set up a social project enabling people from different cultural backgrounds to meet and make new friends.
And Ryan, who was diagnosed recently with Asperger's syndrome, wants to bring together people with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) in social groups and organise workshops and events that raise awareness of the challenges facing people with these conditions.
Louise Curd, Derby College's director of enterprise and innovation, said: "This programme closely links in with our objectives of inspiring individuals and promoting the community.
"We had some great applications but the passion, research and commitment shown by both Clovena and Ryan for their respective projects was outstanding."
Clovena, who was awarded £1,100 to help set up the project entitled CMF – Culture Made Fun, said: "When I came to Derby last year I found it really difficult to settle.
"I want the group to bring together people from a wide range of cultures – celebrating differences and similarities – and my initial plans include music events and fashion shows at college as well as trips to different cultural events around the city.
"Most societies and clubs in Derby are restricted to people from just one country and culture so I hope that this will bring together people from all sorts of different backgrounds."
Ryan, who has been awarded £2,500 to help set up his Yhdessa project, said it aimed to help young people with ASD access more activities outside school and college to develop their social skills and to interact more with people who do not have the condition.
He said: "I plan to set up small groups for people with similar interests and to also show how they can learn to live and thrive with their conditions.
"Many people with ASD feel withdrawn and isolated, so it is important that people gain a better understanding of the issues facing young people on the spectrum."