Stratford College students along with College Principal and CEO Nicola Mannock presenting the cheque to Shakespeare’s Puppies Appeal representatives (left to right) Jackie Horton, Suzanne Beechey, Jenny Parker and Severene Godson with guide dog puppies Uphton, Troilus, Isabella, and Warwick

Representatives from local Guide Dog charity Shakespeare’s Puppies Appeal visited the Stratford-upon-Avon College campus on Thursday 9 June to be presented with a generous donation.  Working tirelessly over the past year to come up with creative ideas to generate contributions, the thoughtful and hard-working students raised the magnificent sum of £2500.

This fundraising total, which smashed the College’s target by £500, will be instrumental in providing the training for a soon-to-be-born guide dog, who will be named Montague in keeping with the Shakespeare-themed names given to puppies currently in training – Uphton, Troilus, Isabella and Warwick.  All four of these excitable guide dogs-in-training bounded onto campus to help pick up the cheque, and loved the attention they received from delighted students.  They even took the time out of their busy schedules to take part in a quick photoshoot with College Principal and CEO Nicola Mannock.

The money was generated from charity events organised and run entirely by students from across the College curriculum.  These included raffles and tombolas, fundraising cakes sales from Entry Level students, and a themed dining event, Dining in the Dark, held earlier this year at the College’s own restaurant, The Academy.

Catering Studies student Elise Salter, aged 17 from Warwick, was the driving force behind the charity dining experience – a six-course taster menu which raised over £600.  Music students from the College gave a live performance to greet the guests on arrival and blindfolds were provided so diners could explore a complete sensory experience. “I was asked by my lecturer Hannah Waldram to think of a way to raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind.  It was so exciting to be part of creating Dining in the Dark.  A lot of hard work went into planning and running the evening but raising so much money definitely made it worthwhile.”

Ms Mannock was full of praise for her students: “The College prides itself on playing an active role in the life of the wider community, so I am delighted we have been able to raise this money for such a worthwhile local cause.  I am extremely proud of the students’ initiative and hard work – they exemplify the ethos of the College.”

Jackie Horton from Shakespeare’s Puppies Appeal stressed the crucial role guide dogs play in allowing people to maintain independence in their everyday lives: “Without the support of groups like the Stratford College students, we can’t continue our work.  We’re funded through donations only; we don’t get any government funding.  A donation like this actually enables somebody to change their lives and get independence.  It costs £55,000 to fully train each guide dog and so the money that’s been raised by the students will go a long way towards Montague’s development.”

Well done to all those involved!

For more information on any of Stratford-upon-Avon College’s courses, please visit or call the College on 01789 266245.

About Association of Colleges West Midlands

AoC West Midlands promotes and supports the interests of 38 general further education, sixth form and specialist colleges throughout the West Midlands region. The West Midlands is a diverse region and our colleges reflect this diversity. From small specialist colleges in rural locations to large inner city establishments, colleges reflect the needs of their local environment. Working closely with employers, learners and the local community, our 38 member colleges offer a broad range of flexible learning opportunities for individuals at all levels. They aim to give local people the skills they need for success and prosperity, tackling barriers to learning and providing opportunities that meet the needs of individuals and employers
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