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Public Services students clean up the community

In a laudable mass volunteering effort, Gloucestershire College’s Uniformed Public Services students have successfully completed a 1.5-mile long litter pick along the canal between the College’s Gloucester Campus and Hempsted Bridge.

Forming part of their BTEC Volunteering Unit, the Level 2 and Level 3 students spent several weeks planning their mass litter pick in partnership with Gloucester City Council, the Canal and River Trust, and Sainsbury’s Gloucester Quays, which all supported the project wholeheartedly and provided equipment and refreshments on the day.

Over the course of three hours, one team of students picked litter along the canal path, while another team of water-based students in kayaks and canoes cleared floating litter and debris from the canal itself. Together they collected more than 25 bags of rubbish; removing an eyesore from an area rich in heritage, and items which could be damaging to the local wildlife.

Passing members of the public commended the actions of the students, commenting “it does make a positive difference” and “it’s good to see young people taking the lead to clear the area”.

Rich Coughlin, Course Leader for Uniformed Public Services, said: This was a valuable experience for all the students involved who are currently learning about the benefits of being good citizens and volunteering as part of their course. “This activity has allowed our students to experience first-hand the benefits of supporting and taking action within their local community. Furthermore it has now developed into a two-phase volunteering project. In about a month, our students will be returning to the canal path and removing graffiti from St. Ann’s bridge and filling in / levelling the tow path alongside Sainsbury’s, with supplies delivered via riverboat from Sharpness.”

In addition to this, all of the College’s Uniformed Public Students are currently completing their own personal volunteering placements as part of their course, in order to help the local community. Recently another team of Level 2 students completed a six-hour session assisting the RSPB at Highnam Woods; clearing scrub to manage the deer population.

Volunteering is just a small part of the varied Uniformed Public Services course offered at Gloucestershire College. The course prepares students for life in the public services sector and they get the opportunity to participate in everything from riot training with the police and joining the Army Cadet Force to outdoor adventure expeditions and residential trips.

The College is welcoming prospective students and their parents to a Public Services Spring Taster Evening at Gloucester Campus on Thursday 16 April, when they can see demonstrations, meet current staff and students, tour the facilities and more.

There are two sessions available at 4pm and 5.30pm, and pre-booking is essential as places are limited. Visit to pre-register for your place now.

For more information about Uniformed Public Services at Gloucestershire College, watch GC The Movie at or call Student Services on 0345 155 2020.

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