Friendship Really Matters: Nash College students celebrate the importance of friendship in a special Christmas performance

Society usually expects young people to have a large circle of friends and a thirst for adventure and fun. But sometimes challenges in society mean that if you have a disability, it can be harder to fully take part in your community.

Christmas can be a particularly lonely time, especially for disabled people. But having positive relationships have been proven to increase health, life and wellbeing outcomes.

At Nash College – a Further Education college for young adults with a range of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in Hayes, Bromley – students are supported, not just in the classroom but to thrive in the community.

To emphasise just how important having connections with people is, Nash came together for a special assembly for all its students called ‘All together Friends at Christmas.’ The assembly followed a Livability ‘Share Your Story workshop’ that was held at Nash College earlier in the year, to explore student views on friendship and isolation.

As part of the programme students performed a play about being alone at Christmas. The play’s message was all about giving people time, compassion, care, gifts, or just a listening ear and how that can stop someone being lonely at Christmas time. To end the assembly, the entire school joined in signing ‘So this is Christmas’ by John Lennon.

Denise Fuller, Lead of Learning at Nash College said:

‘Overall, the students thought the play went well and enjoyed the mince pies and the dancing! I would like to thank Cristina Gangemi – Livability’s Community Network Coordinator – and my lecturing team for the planning and direction of the play and, of course, the wonderful model 3 students who got the message across that “no one should be alone at Christmas.’

Nash students have complex learning needs including physical, communication and sensory disabilities, medical conditions or autism, in addition to learning disabilities, from severe to profound. The college places a particular emphasis on ‘Learning Through Living’ – personalised learning, facilitating a range of communication needs, and supporting students in the community and with future vocational opportunities.

Can you help connect people this Christmas?

Our work to help connect people with their community is only possible thanks to the friendship of our supporters. This Christmas, your support could help with:

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Supporting people recover from mental health illness by taking part in Flourish – our horticultural therapy programme at Livability’s wellbeing centre.
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Enabling disabled people express their creativity and build friendships through art classes and community programmes.
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Coaching people facing barriers to employment in setting up their own business.

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