Posts Tagged ‘South Gloucestershire and Stroud College’

Running for MIND: Ben’s year-long challenge

Posted on Tuesday 31st December 2019 at 11:36 am by SH (Editor)

Photo of Ben Johnson (left) with fellow ‘3k a day’ challenge participants Aaron and Jack.

A New Year’s Eve challenge, made under the influence of a few celebratory drinks with friends, turned into a life-changing fitness quest for one SGS employee.

South Gloucestershire and Stroud (SGS) College Students’ Union engagement officer Ben Johnson and two of his friends made a pact back on New Year’s Eve 2018 to run 3k every day throughout 2019 to raise money for the mental health charity MIND.

The challenge has been a difficult one for Ben to persevere with: “Before starting this challenge, I could run for about 20 minutes before getting tired. I’ve always played football so was physically fit, though I really had to adapt to continuous running, which was difficult. I was a little chubby around the edges and definitely didn’t have a stable and healthy diet, enjoying the occasional pint and over indulging in luxury treats.”

However, not to be beaten by each other, the three friends have persisted with the challenge and on Monday 16th December, we met with Ben as he completed day 350. Ben said: “I try to alternate my route by location and distance to keep it interesting. In the mornings or evenings, I often run around the Clifton area where I live and at lunchtimes I’ll run around Filton where I work. The good runs are at weekends when I may escape to the hills or out in the countryside. Although running downhill has caused me a lot of stress to my shins.”

With the end of the challenge now only two weeks away, the friends have raised a staggering £2,358 for MIND and look set to reach their target of £2,500 by the end of the year.

Ben added: “We have run with terrible hangovers in Alcudia and Rome, sometimes in 40 degree heat. The lads, Jack and Aaron, have even had to run during the Glastonbury Festival and also on a skiing holiday!”

When asked about the motivation behind this mammoth challenge, Ben said: “Every year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem. MIND believes that no one should have to face a mental health problem alone. Neither do we. That’s why we have decided to do something both unique and challenging to raise money for a great cause that is close to our hearts.”

“MIND and mental health is a big factor in my life and running everyday has really helped on days where I’ve felt blue. We hope we can give something back to such an amazing cause.”

You can follow the final stages of their challenge on Facebook (@3KadayforMind) and Instagram (@runningformind), and donate online at

Photo: Ben Johnson (left) with fellow ‘3k a day’ challenge participants Aaron and Jack.

This article originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 25). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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New college celebrates result of first Ofsted inspection

Posted on Monday 9th February 2015 at 11:22 pm by SH (Editor)

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College's WISE campus in Stoke Gifford, Bristol.

Staff and students at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS) are celebrating after receiving an overall ‘good’ status by Ofsted just two years after the new college was formed.

The college, one of the newest in the country, was formed by dissolution of Filton and Stroud Colleges and the incorporation of SGS College in February 2012.

SGS had its first Ofsted inspection last November and the report was published in January.

Ofsted judged that the college had ‘Outstanding’ Leadership and Management, Learner Support services, and Employability Programmes. There were further ‘Outstanding’ grades in Sport, Business, Performing and Visual Arts. The report also outlined that a significant and increasing proportion of teaching and learning is outstanding, and learners benefit from the College’s culture of high expectations and receive outstanding support in their studies.

In addition, the College was praised for its highly effective strategic vision and direction, which Ofsted concluded, ‘placed it at the heart of its local communities, to serve the best interests of learners’. Excellent partnerships with employers and local enterprise partnerships also received praise and were found to be highly productive for learners.

Principal and CEO, Kevin Hamblin, comments:

“SGS was established to provide a wider range of vocational and academic courses in our local communities, providing students with more choice, greater opportunities and a greater range of facilities from a larger, more efficient college. SGS College has a 15% rise in student numbers since 2012 whilst at the same time student success rates for learners aged 16-18 have consistently been in the top decile when compared with all the other similar colleges in the Country. When compared with all further education colleges in the South West, SGS College’s value-added performance ranked highest of all similar colleges for A Levels or Vocational programmes.”

“This doesn’t happen without a fantastic team effort by all staff at the College and it is a testament to their hard work and dedication that we have come so far is such a short period of time and I would like to publicly thank them.”

Photo: SGS College’s WISE campus, off New Road in Stoke Gifford.

Related link: Ofsted report page for SGS College

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Kenyan Olympic team arrives in Stoke Gifford

Posted on Wednesday 4th July 2012 at 4:29 pm by SH (Editor)

The Kenyan Olympic Team arrives at UWE, Stoke Gifford, Bristol.

The Kenyan Olympic squad arrived in Stoke Gifford today to begin their training camp ahead of the London 2012 Games that start on Friday 27th July.

The squad will be based at UWE Bristol’s Frenchay Campus and train on the Olympic-standard athletics track at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College’s WISE Campus in New Road.

The visit has been arranged by the Bristol Kenya Partnership (BKP) with support from UWE Bristol, University of Bristol, WISE SGS, Bristol City Council and others.

The squad includes around 40 athletes, consisting of all the runners up to and including the 3,000 metres steeplechase (the long distance runners will be staying at altitude in Kenya).

The team staying in Bristol includes two swimmers and a female weightlifter. David Rudisha world record holder and reigning world champion for 800m will arrive in Bristol next week after running in Paris at the weekend.

Pamela Jelimo, the reigning 800m Olympic Champion, is another of the stars who will be using the Kip Keino Stadium at SGS College as their training base.

The Stoke Gifford stadium is one of only six venues in the south west that has UK Athletics class ‘A’ certification for its athletics facilities. A £1.3 million investment turned a former training track into a competition-standard athletics ground, with Bristol City Council putting in £450,000 towards the development.

More; Evening reception to be held to welcome the athletes »

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Olympus Theatre to welcome ‘The Vampire’

Posted on Saturday 3rd March 2012 at 5:02 pm by SH (Editor)


The award-winning Bristol Opera returns to the Olympus Theatre in Stoke Gifford this spring with a new production of ‘The Vampire’.

Nominated for the Rose Bowl Award for Best Opera in 2009, 2010 and 2011 (winning the award in 2009 and 2010), Bristol Opera presents its 2012 production of ‘The Vampire’ by Heinrich Marschner, sung in English with an orchestra.

‘The Vampyre’ (1819), by Lord Byron’s friend John Polidari, on which the opera is based, changed the traditional image of the vampire from a rotting corpse into a handsome, aristocratic, seductive, and amoral character, Lord Ruthven, an eighteenth century Scottish lord. Desperate to become immortal, Lord Ruthven is tasked by the Vampire Master to slay three virgin brides on the eve of their weddings within twenty four-hours to enable him to live another day. The romantic hero of the piece, Lord Edgar Aubry, is anxious to prevent this happening, as the third victim is to be his beloved Malwina. In a race against time, and as the Vampire grows ever stringer, the opera builds in excitement and drama to a climatic conclusion.

The production is being shown at Olympus Theatre on the WISE Campus of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (formerly Filton College) in New Road, Stoke Gifford, from 9th to 12th May.

Shows start at 7:30pm and tickets are available in advance from Iris Shopland on 0845 8337124.

Related link: What’s On in Stoke Gifford (The Journal)

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