The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London celebrated their staff, students and employers last night at the annual Excellence Awards, to recognise their hard work and dedication throughout the year. Almost 300 people attended the awards ceremony, at CONEL’s Tottenham Centre.

The ceremony began at 7pm with a performance from B2R, a group of The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London students, covering “Rude” by MAGIC!

Compere for the evening, Reverend Nims Obunge, invited CONEL’s Interim Principal, Kurt Hintz, on stage. Kurt delivered an encouraging recap of the year, congratulating award winners for “shining the brightest” in their discipline.

Kurt Hintz on stage

Nims then returned to stage, handing awards to employer partners, long service staff and staff excellence awards.

The interlude performance by Westminster Kingsway College student Paulo Reiss, who sung his own song – “Can’t Stop.”

Attendees were inspired by a speech from alum Pat Akwenuke about her journey from apprentice at CONEL to owner of a successful childcare business.

After the break, Rev. Obunge continued with the progression of the ceremony. Students received trophies to celebrate their achievements, coupled with short statements from the teachers and tutors who had made nominations.

The ceremony ended on a softer note, with the presentation of the Paul Head Award, taking its name from the late former Principal of the college. Potchu Mendes Calucane received the award for his efforts as an athlete, captaining the college’s football academy throughout the last academic year.

Potchu receiving his award

The ceremony was closed by a speech from Sarah Ebanja, Chair of the CONEL Local Advisory Board and a Capital City College Group Governor.

Kurt Hintz said: “The Excellence Awards is always my favourite night of the year where we get reminded of how brilliant our students really are! A wonderful evening oozing with talent and energy, congratulations to all the award winners.”

Knife crime is in the news seemingly every day and London’s young people are bearing the brunt of knife-related crime. Tottenham MP David Lammy has repeatedly called for more to be done to tackle the crisis and it is a key priority for London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan too. The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London recognises that knife and serious crime is increasing in London and more needs to be done in regard to prevention activity. The fact is you are three times more likely to be stabbed if you carry a knife.

On Wednesday 28 November 2018, we hosted a ‘Question Time’-style event focusing on issues of knife crime and gang violence. It brought students, staff and local organisations together and aimed to facilitate open discussion over the issues, hear the facts about knife crime and how to stay safe.

Learners posed questions to the expert panel and shared their experiences with them. The panel chaired by Reverend Nims Obunge, outlined the threats, influences and ways the community could take direct action and preventative measures to address the awful waste of life and serious life changing injuries inflicted almost daily on the streets of London. Yvonne Lawson gave a heart breaking account of her experience as a mother losing her son to a fatal stabbing in 2010 and the impact of knife crime on families.

CONEL student Syed Salam said: “This was an excellent event for us as young people to hear about the effects of knife-crime on families and the wider community.

“Also, hearing from various organisations that are involved in tackling knife crime at a grassroots level was good, as I now know what they are doing, and how I can get involved in helping to reduce knife crime in my community.”

In spring 2018, the college supported Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s campaign to clamp down on knife crime, educating students about the risks and consequences associated with carrying a knife.

Back in March, CONEL students shared their views with the Godwin Lawson Foundation, which helps young people find opportunities away from crime. The charity was set up by Yvonne Lawson, the mother of 17 year-old Godwin Lawson, who grew up in Tottenham and was killed in a knife attack in 2010.

Yvonne Lawson returned as a panellist at our ‘Question Time’ event in November 2018, alongside Chairperson Reverend Nims Obunge (College Governor), DI Timothy Tubbs (British Transport Police), Franklyn Addo (Homerton Hospital), Kwabz Oduro Ayim (CEO, Mixtape Madness), Royston John (CEO, National Coalition-Building Institute), Junior Smart (Founder, SOS Project) and Dr Angela Hervet MBE (Vice Chair, Knife and Violent Crime Prevention Group).

Anthony Robinson, Head of Learner Experience Manager at CONEL, said: “Giving students the opportunities to discuss their views and opinions of the issues of knife and gang crime is key to developing solutions for this growing problem.

“At CONEL we are passionate about ensuring that our students have a strong voice to effect change. We have received funding from the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund to help us develop activities for our students that will deter them away from getting involved in criminal activities and make better life choices.”