The South Lanarkshire College Foundation was established and registered as a charity in February 2014. Reflecting on its milestone 10th anniversary this year, the South Lanarkshire College Foundation continues to be an important source of funding for student related projects, both at the College and, also in the wider South Lanarkshire region. 

As an independent charitable organisation, or an “an arms-length trust” as they are known, the Foundation and its trustees are guided by its Statutory Constitution, keeping the Foundation’s objective to advance and promote further education in the region at the very centre of every financial bid it supports.

With £500,000 additional funding received into the Foundation from South Lanarkshire College in 2022, the Trustees have a renewed sense of purpose to ensure that students and organisations within the South Lanarkshire region, who are most in need, are given financial support for projects that will ensure that the highest quality of education is provided.

One of the first successful bids, supported by the Foundation, was financial support to build a low carbon building at the College in 2014. This was used for learning and teaching to demonstrate modern, state of the art technological advancements within its very fabric, designed to enhance the student learning experience through its innovative build.  The Low Carbon House continues to generate interest and is often showcased as a key College resource when external visitors are on site.

Another hugely successful project which has received continued support by the Foundation in recent years is the Free Breakfast, Soup and Sandwich initiative which directly supports College students who are most in need. Some of the funds were also used for the provision of a food larder, which has proved a hugely successful resource for students to drop in and pick up items including dry goods, canned foods, cereals, pasta, snacks, stationery, sanitary products, and hygiene essentials.

In times where the cost-of-living crisis is felt by everyone, the scheme has helped to alleviate poverty through the provision of a healthy and nutritional breakfast and lunch for students.  

Some feedback about the Free Breakfast, Soup and Sandwich:
Last year I used the free breakfast, soup and sandwich a lot. It helps not only me, but students who desperately need it. It is a great initiative and I hope it continues this year.”

“I have accessed the free soup and a sandwich when I have required it…  at times it has been a literal life saver to me, and other students.”

Other projects that the Foundation has made possible include funding for a Core Skills Assessment module to be implemented at the College. While English and Numeracy core skills have always been a focus for the College, the impact of being able to purchase software and deliver this project has meant that an additional 480 students can potentially receive these valuable and transferable employability skills.

Additionally, the mental health of students continues to be a priority for the College and the Trustees were unanimous in their agreement to support a two-year funding bid for the provision of a Student Counsellor and Guidance & Support Advisor. The Foundation, in conjunction with the College, recognises that mental health support enables learners to be successful in their engagement with the College, supporting them through their studies. 

One student remarked, “I cannot thank South Lanarkshire College enough for having the opportunity to access the counsellor. I was on the verge of quitting the course with only seven or eight weeks left of term. After speaking to the counsellor who listened to me without judgement, they made me feel I was good enough to continue with the last weeks. I did finish my course and now look forward to returning to college next term. I think it’s important to have the chance to speak to someone, it makes you think and try and sort things out in your head."

Continuing the theme of mental health benefits, the Foundation has also recently supported the introduction of a ‘Friends of South Lanarkshire Horticulture Garden’ within the grounds of the College, which will provide both positive mental and physical health benefits.

The Chair of the Foundation, Peter Sweeney MBE, said:This initiative really impressed the Trustees. The roll out of the project utilises students from the construction and built environment area who are involved in the fit-out of the garden, and the project demonstrates a commitment to cost-reduction through the clever utilisation of its own resources. Against the backdrop of challenging financial and economic times, the Board were happy to support the initiative based on this innovative approach and we are excited to see the results of the work in due course.”

Reflecting on the Foundation’s significant anniversary, Peter Sweeney MBE acknowledges that the Foundation is an important resource for educational pursuits in South Lanarkshire and, as Trustees, he is keen to increase the visibility of the Foundation in the community.

Peter added: “As a Trustee, I am excited to be a part of the Foundation and enjoy learning how we can financially support students in the South Lanarkshire region. However, as with all funding sources, funds are not limitless. As a Board of Trustees, we are now turning our attention to look at funding sources to ensure that we can remain a viable financial support for the many varied and interesting educational projects that we have supported to date.” 

You can find out more about how to apply for funding or how to donate to the South Lanarkshire College Foundation, by visiting the South Lanarkshire College Foundation section on the website.