The Sovereign Shield was created several years ago to recognise students at Guernsey College of Further Education who demonstrate an extra commitment to their community. This year, Covid-19 has given us pause and allowed us to reflect upon how we are not just a collection of individuals, striving to fulfil our personal goals. We are more than that. We are part of a raft of interdependent communities: our families, our friendship groups, our colleges and workplaces, our island.
Even in enforced separation we have achieved great things together. We have supported and encouraged each other and the #guernseytogether spirit has shone through. With the Sovereign Shield we can see these actions given the recognition they deserve and each year we ask tutors to consider where their students have gone the extra mile to support or enrich the lives of those around them. From daily small acts of kindness to demanding voluntary roles, to ambitious fundraising endeavours, the Sovereign Shield offers a platform to learn about and to appreciate how much kindness and positivity is provided to the community by those enrolled at Guernsey College of Further Education.
Examples from the great candidates we had this year include:
- Arranging messages of support for fellow students going through a bad time
- Helping fellow students catch up on work they’ve missed through illness
- Volunteering regularly for a host of community groups including St. Johns Ambulance, Scout groups, riding for the disabled and so on
- Providing technical support to help community events go ahead
- Campaigning to challenge deeply ingrained gender stereotypes
These fine efforts are made even more impressive given that they are often made by those overcoming their own personal challenges. Some students have had to overcome their own anxieties, or issues with confidence. Some have found time for others while helping to run demanding family businesses or being single parents. Many students keep on top of their studies whilst balancing part time work and other personal commitments yet still find time to help those around them.
It seems that many of our nominees have discovered that by helping others, they help themselves. Their acts of kindness and good deeds have enabled them to banish demons and build their sense of self-worth; and the positive activity has balanced out some of the daily challenges they face, improving their quality of life. For those who haven’t tried it, it comes highly recommended!
This year we’re delighted to award the Sovereign Shield to Phoebe Stewart. Phoebe is doing her Level 2 qualification in Office Administration and was nominated for her commitment to supporting and caring for those with mental health issues. As well as volunteering to support Guernsey Mind activities and fundraising for them, Phoebe was nominated because of how she cares and actively helps to improve the mental wellbeing of those around her. She has kept this up while college was closed, keeping her course mates’ spirits up by posting helpful tips and links on their Classroom message system.
This year, in addition to the Shield, Sovereign is pleased to award two runners up certificates to recognise the lengths Alex Adamson and Nadine Hallam have gone to for their community.
Alex moved to Guernsey in 2019 and immediately sought out opportunities to support people with physical and learning difficulties. He has been recognised for the way he is constantly looking out for his friends and family, and the highly valued contribution he makes to the Ron Short centre where he is a committed volunteer.
We also congratulate Nadine, who has not let the demands of single parenthood prevent her from either continuing her studies or going the extra mile for those around her. She helps wherever she can and has taken on a key role in organising a college event and managed to significantly boost the fundraising efforts for the college charity fund in the process.
“Congratulations to Phoebe, Alex and Nadine, and every student at Guernsey College of Further Education who are going above and beyond to support and care for those around them. Your actions are making the difference to the lives of so many. Keep up the good work!”
Stephen Hare, Managing Director, Sovereign Trust (CI) Limited