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Community award for kind-hearted AJ

Student Apple-Jane Hayward was thrilled to receive a Jack Petchey Community Award after spending hours of her own time volunteering to help isolated and vulnerable elderly people.

BTEC Sport student Apple-Jane, known as AJ, was nominated for the award for cooking and delivering dinners to older residents during the lockdown.

She also helped out with the Brentwood Covid-19 Mutual Aid group, made phone calls on a daily basis to vulnerable members of her family and as a Leading Cadet at the Brentwood Sea Cadets, she made weekly checks on all of the younger cadets in her unit, giving them support if they needed it. In addition, she contacted the local Royal Naval Association and phoned members of the group who lived alone and welcomed a friendly chat.

And her volunteering didn’t stop there! She helped hand out recycling bags to members of the public and developed new ideas and online meetings for the Sea Cadets HQ with her thoughts on how to grow the group virtually. She even wrote an open letter to worried children of frontline workers and received some fantastic feedback from both adults and children who said they got great comfort from her words.

Although she was kept busy with all these voluntary projects during the last few months, AJ, who is a former College Student of the Year award winner, kept up with her Sport studies and also achieved a Sea Cadet Physical Training qualification.

AJ plans to put the money she received from the Jack Petchey award towards a paddleboard, which she is saving up to buy.

A Havering Colleges staff member said: “AJ is such a superstar who has grown in confidence since coming to college. We’re super proud of her!”


Discover what some of our students go on to achieve once they leave us on our Where Are They Now? page