Article for FKUC brochure
Writing about web page http://www.warwick.ac.uk/go/fkuc
How the FKUC? Our History
We initially dismissed the idea as too ambitious, applying for the money on the off chance but never really believing we would get it. When we found out that we’d been awarded the grant it was an amazing feeling: someone believed in us enough to give us £20,000 and that was motivation enough to make it work. And here we are.
On a module called ‘Crime and Deviance’ our Lecturer, Mike, offered us the opportunity to get involved in a project called ‘Sort’d’. 10 weeks and 10 young offenders later we believed in this enough to draw up a proposal applying for the funding to show everyone else how valuable it was to learn from real experiences rather than the (tried and tested) ‘sort-of-taking-it-in-with-my-pink-highlighter-watching-neighbours’ text book technique.
We offered ourselves, our campus, our time and energy and a £500 grant to our ‘probation students’. They offered us, when they turned up, the opportunity to learn from them. Using our knowledge and campus facilities we helped these students explore how they could achieve a personal goal of their choice, which ranged from building a PC to a DJ gig, and we offered them £500 to spend on accomplishing this. We first met our ‘students’ in a big room we had filled with crisps and sweets and coke and they were utterly overwhelmed. I can’t describe their faces, the more confident were revelling in the attention and the quiet, shy ones had wide eyes and were keeping their heads down. In no way were the next ten weeks easy. But to see a grown man look in awe at a climbing wall on a campus tour as if it was the most magical thing he has seen in his life brought it all back home. We were giving these guys a chance, and even if they had no way of expressing what this meant to them they would remember us for it. Which was a nice feeling.
They honestly could not comprehend that we were there to help them. Help them do something that they wanted to do, and there were some touching moments of realisation. There were also moments when you wanted to shake them and tell them that they had to do their bit as well and help themselves. So some days you left campus with a smile on your face, feeling as if you could make the world a better place. Others you left wanting to cry because no matter what you did it was going to be pretty shit for some people and sometimes they don’t even want to do anything about that themselves.
But these feelings were real. They could not be expressed in any text book, or reading, they had to be felt. Which is why we are here. To help people learn by feeling. Because we feel that nothing else quite compares to that. And hope to give other students the opportunity to discover this themselves.