Oldham Sixth Form College


Covid above and beyond - Winners

Covid above and beyond - Winners

OSFC is thrilled to announce that we are winners at the SFCA awards in the ‘Covid above and Beyond category’. As well as being at the forefront of innovation in digital learning resulting in our win for ‘Curriculum Innovation’ at the awards, the overall response from staff and students to this pandemic has been nothing short of amazing. Staff and students have used every opportunity to support and care for each other. There are many examples of members of the OSFC community going ‘above and beyond’, but the stories of Fatheha Anwar and Thomas Astbury, in particular, stand out. Both students have done outstanding volunteer work throughout the Covid pandemic. Their work has been the very definition of 'above and beyond' during this difficult time.


Health and Social Care student, Fatheha Akhtar has been volunteering at The Royal Oldham Hospital for close to a year. She increased her weekly hours to offer vital support to the hospital during the pandemic. She volunteered for 4 hours, 5 evenings a week, after she had completed her daily remote learning/lessons for college.

Prior to the pandemic, Fatheha was originally volunteering on the Acute Medical Unit in preparation for applying to study Midwifery at university, but she then changed her role. In March, Fatheha joined the team of Emergency Responder Volunteers assisting with implementing strict infection control measures with visitors, escorting outpatients for appointments calmly around the hospital and keeping inpatients in contact with their loved ones by delivering letter and care packages from relatives.

Fatheha was promoted to Team Leader at the hospital to help and support newer volunteers as they learned more and eased into their role. She received glowing references from her hospital colleagues to support her application to Higher Education, as well as developing her communication skills, confidence and resilience during this time.

Aspiring Midwife Fatheha has found this voluntary experience invaluable and she plans to continue volunteering for the NHS for as long as she can. She still plans to study to be a midwife at university next year.

Health and Social Care student, Tom Astbury is an Emergency Support Volunteer with the British Red Cross, providing practical and emotional support at emergencies, such as the fires at Bolton University and the floods in Didsbury. More recently, he was helping with the Covid vaccination outreach programmes with refugees.

Tom is also a Community First Responder with the North West Ambulance Service. He has found this particularly rewarding, as he could provide emergency help first-hand to patients and support the work of ambulance crews during this crisis.

Thirdly, he provided medical services to Coffee4Craig, a homeless charity in Manchester, treating the homeless for medical issues, but also directing them to other services.

Astonishingly, Tom achieved all of this whilst undergoing treatment for T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. He underwent an incredibly intrusive and extended period of medication and support, which saved his life.


Tom’s amazing range of volunteering is the definition of ‘giving something back’ to your community. After his own challenging experience, he took the mature decision to dedicate himself to health-care and he has already come a long way in fulfilling his pledge. Tom is excited about taking up his place to study Paramedic Science and he is expected to achieve a fantastic result in his Health and Social Care Extended Diploma course.


We are so proud of Tom and Fatheha and the way in which all of our students and staff have pulled together during this time. It has truly highlighted the strength of our community and the special place that is OSFC.