Staff and students at Northampton College have teamed up to produce a children’s book explaining the impact of coronavirus for youngsters attending the on-site nursery at Booth Lane.
With children expected back in nursery from September, and social distancing guidelines still in place, the book aims to explain the measures in simple terms and outline what the youngsters can do to stay safe and healthy.
The book was written by Alexandra Hamblin-Pardon, from the college’s marketing team, and illustrated by student Ellie Lines, who has just completed her Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at the College.
It follows the story of a loveable character Little Chum and his friend Chumbelina as they return to nursery after the holidays, having to get to grips with new guidelines around social distancing, ‘bubbles’ and hand washing.
Alex said: “We are always looking at ways of involving students with our work as it gives them vital ‘real-world’ experience and makes them feel a part of the college community. This was the perfect opportunity to make use of the talents of our art students and Ellie has done a fantastic job, nailing the brief and coming up with something the children in the nursery are going to love.
“Little Chum and Chumbelina illustrate the importance of regular handwashing, explain the reasons for social distancing guidelines and spell out in simple terms just what the ‘new normal’ will mean for youngsters in our nursery when they come back in September.
“We want them to understand that coming back to nursery might be a little different, but there is nothing to worry about. We are encouraging good behaviour and improved hygiene habits among the nursery children.”
The illustrated story will be shared digitally with all of the nursery school parents and the book will also feature on a ‘story time’ style video to be shared on the nursery’s private Facebook page. An audio version is also being produced.
The college is planning to use some of the illustrations on separate signage, floor stickers or other marketing materials around the Nursery itself.
A passion for produce, a taste for the very best in fine food and a deep-rooted desire for delicious drinks – Northampton College is on the hunt for the county’s ‘Food Hero’ of 2020.
The college has teamed up with the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards to sponsor this coveted category at the annual celebration, which champions all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work so hard within the culinary sector.
It is the first time Northampton College has sponsored this award and staff from the much-respected catering department are looking forward to seeing who is crowned this year’s winner.
Head of Catering and Hospitality, Phil Martin, said: “Northamptonshire is home to some incredible food and drink producers and the industry is absolutely buzzing at the minute, with an emerging pool of supremely talented chefs and innovative restaurateurs really putting the county on the culinary map.
“We are fortunate to have a network of people who are so passionate about local food and drink, they champion our county and the work done by all those in the profession. There are some amazing projects popping up all over the county and people are really stepping up to the plate.
“The Food Hero award is open to anyone and it promises to be extremely competitive. I’m expecting to see a lot of entries and a lot of deserving winners. As the ‘college in the community’ it seems a natural fit to be sponsoring this award this year. It’s going to be fascinating to see who comes out on top.”
College students are normally heavily involved in the service of the meal dished up at the awards ceremony but the event is likely to be very different this year, with COVID-19 restrictions potentially meaning the annual celebration could be held remotely for the first time.
Students will definitely be competing for the title of ‘Food and Drink College Student of the Year’- a new award that will celebrate college students from across Northamptonshire who have demonstrated exceptional skills development throughout their learning and who are proud young ambassadors for the sector.
A former Northampton College student, Danny Tompkins, was last year named the winner of the coveted ‘Chef of the Year’ award after fending off the challenge of five other finalists at the cook-off at Booth Lane.
Having spent the first months of lockdown helping to create more than 11,000 meals for NHS staff, Danny has now returned to his role as a private chef, offering to cater for dinner parties in clients’ homes, as well as supplying weekend meat and cheese boxes to order.
For more details of the awards visit www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk.
Some of the biggest names in showbiz have sent their support to Musical Theatre students at Northampton College, who had their hopes of starring in their end-of-year performance dashed by COVID-19.
The Final Major Project (FMP) is the highlight of the course for students, the culmination of two years’ hard work and the chance to showcase their skills in front of a sell-out crowd, but the global pandemic thwarted any chance they had of appearing on stage.
To soften the blow, a host of West End stars have sent video messages to the students, wishing them well in their future careers and congratulating them on their work during their time at Booth Lane.
Among those to record a message was former Dr Who and I’m a Celebrity star John Barrowman, who said: “I want to say sorry that you’re not getting to perform your FMP but you’ve all come so far and done such great work over these two years. You should be exceptionally proud of what you’ve done and that’s really worth celebrating.”
Also passing on his best wishes was Kinky Boots star Callum Francis who added: “When I played in Northampton it was crazy special to me because it is based there. Missing your final show really sucks, I’m really sorry – this is a crazy, crazy time.”
Layton Williams, who plays Jamie in West End smash ‘Everyone’s Talking About Jamie’ said: “You’ve all done very well, I wish you could have performed your FMP which would have been sh-amazing!”
Dear Evan Hansen star Jack Loxton added: “You’ve done amazing work over the past two years. I hope you’re all safe and well and keeping engaged in musical theatre.”
The video messages were sourced by student Connor Allbright, one of those who missed out on appearing in the FMP.
He said: “It was a big blow to not be able to put on the show, we’d all worked so hard towards it. As part of my job at the moment I was having to get content from celebrities so I thought I’d ask some of them if they would record a message for my fellow students. It’s great to know they are supporting us and the whole industry is really sticking together at such a difficult time.”
Northampton College’s Musical Theatre students have a proven track record of hitting the big time, with several alumni now starring on stage in shows around the world.
The current crop have already hit the headlines this summer, with a ‘virtual cover version’ of classic feelgood song Somewhere Over The Rainbow attracting widespread national and international media coverage, including articles as far afield as Gibraltar.
Students compiled their version of the Judy Garland song ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ from their own homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, each sending in videos of them singing and performing. The recordings were then stitched together and laid over an instrumental track to form a full music video which highlighted their hopes for the future as they look to emerge from lockdown life.
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