Students at Suffolk’s One college focus firmly on quality in partnership for green awards


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A sixth-form college has strengthened its links with Suffolk’s environmental ‘Oscars’ scheme - and the tie-up is certain to bring mutual benefits, as John Grant reports.

greenest county awards 2015 logo

greenest county awards 2015 logo - Credit: Archant

Nominees for Suffolk’s so-called “green Oscars” will soon be quite literally in the frame for the county’s annual environmental awards – put there by creative young film-makers.

For the second year running, the Suffolk Creating the Greenest County Awards team has linked up with the Suffolk One sixth-form college in Ipswich in a mutually beneficial partnership.

The work carried out by Suffolk One students for last year’s awards after they became the scheme’s official photographers and film-makers was such a success that the partnership is being repeated.

In this year’s awards, four more students will film the shortlisted nominees in all 13 of the award categories and their sequences will be shown at the scheme’s showcase ceremony to be held at Snape Maltings on April 15, when prominent naturalist, broadcaster, wildlife campaigner and author Chris Packham will give the key address.


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The students, all in the second year of their Level Three BTEC creative media studies, have already produced a film that was shown to guests at the awards launch in November and their work for that event was highly acclaimed.

Awards organisers and Suffolk One staff say the link-up will give the four film-makers worthwhile experience that will stand them in good stead for their careers, and offer the scheme a fresh, youthful approach to its presentations.

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Suffolk County Council environment strategy officer Emma James, who is organising the awards and who has a daughter who is studying at Suffolk One, came up with the idea for the partnership last year.

“I was really impressed with Suffolk One and thought that they were doing amazing things for the students,” she said. “They are getting amazing results and it is an amazingly green building. I thought it would be a great idea to combine their aspirations with those of the award – we could offer them the experience and publicise some of the work of Suffolk One and we could make use of the work of some really talented young people.


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“The films that were made for us last year by Alex Hermon and Alex Pannell were so good we offered Suffolk One the chance to carry on the partnership and they have come up with four really enthusiastic young film-makers who will be working very closely with us.”

The four students chosen to take part are 18-year-olds Ryan Bimson, of Tattingstone, Jake Newey, of Claydon, and Kristin Von Wittken, of Saxmundham, and 19-year-old Megan Grigor, of Felixstowe.

Ryan hopes to pursue a career in directing and screenwriting and has a special interest in horror films – but is promising to play it safe and not include any horrifying special effects for the awards films.

He said of his work in the partnership: “I hope this will look shiny on my portfolio and lead to other things that will look shiny on it too. I hope it will stand me in good stead to fulfil my aim of studying in California, which is pretty much the hub of the media in the States and pretty much the hub of the media across the world.”

Jake, who hopes to study visual effects at university and pursue a career in film project management, was expecting to gain crucial experience. “With 27 videos to make, it means there are lots of people to meet and talk to and so it will hopefully improve my skills with client interaction as well as helping gain experience in things such as time management,” he said.

Kristin said: “Hopefully it will improve my confidence in talking to the new people I meet and it will give me an insight into professional film-making, especially with editing. There will be very little time to edit the films and it will be good experience in working to deadlines and in time management.

“After college I would like to study media at university and expand my knowledge particularly of software that is used – I would like to have a career with some form of media.”

Megan added: “This will give me a grasp of the working environment, working to deadlines, time management talking to people and creative filming.

“We have a lot to live up to as last year’s students did such great work with the awards but we are all very much into it and we are going to give it our best.

“It will be good for us to do something that is in the real world and it will get us out of the usual routine of college, which we all know is essential but this will be something totally different and it should give us a really interesting challenge.

“I am thinking of going into an apprenticeship rather than going on to university as I like the idea of first-hand, hands-on experience in film-making and the work with the awards is very much along those lines.”

Another Suffolk One student is making a return to awards photographic duty. Lucien Hughes, 19, of Shakespeare Road, Ipswich, was one of two young photographers who took stills for the 2014 awards and continues the role this year. “Last year proved to be very useful experience and I am very much looking forward to building on that this year,” he said.

Suffolk One film and media teacher Ross Barrett, is in no doubt about the value of the college’s link-up with the awards scheme.

“The Greenest County Awards offer the students something different – communication with clients, working to deadlines, having to meet a brief and having to be very efficient and very professional,” he said.

“We drive our standards here at the college towards professionalism to give the students the greatest experience possible on their course and this will set them up for work in the outside world where they will have to recognise their clients’ needs. This gives them massive responsibility. They will have to work to very high standards. If the videos are not there on time and they are not done to standard that is expected it means the whole thing is messed up.

“Last year our two students’ work was magnificent. People will probably remember the whole event by the videos they see and this is a test to see how this year’s students cope. The promotional video they produced for the awards launch event went very well.

“These four students have been hand-picked to work with the awards because of their determination to work in various branches of media industry and they do excellent work week in week out – now they will have to keep that up for the awards.”

Suffolk’s Green Oscars

CLIMATE ADAPTION - sponsored by Anglian Water (also the main sponsor of the awards) Open to any organisation which has demonstrated an innovative approach to becoming, or supporting others to become, “climate ready”.

GREEN HERO - sponsored by TA Hotel Collection This award will recognise an outstanding individual and the contribution they have made in helping Suffolk become the Greenest County.

GREENEST BUILDING - sponsored by Greenright Homes Open to any building, domestic, communal or commercial, that can demonstrate best practice in sustainability including design, build process, or management.

GREENEST BUSINESS - sponsored by Invest in Suffolk This award is open to any Suffolk-based business that has taken steps to benefit the environment. The winner will be a business that has made significant improvements to their own operations and is contributing to the wider green economy.

GREENEST MICRO-BUSINESS - sponsored by Flow Energy Open to businesses who employ fewer than 10 full-time equivalents. The winner will be a business that has made significant improvements to their own environmental performance and is contributing to the wider green economy.

GREENEST PRODUCT or SERVICE - sponsored by Barnes Construction This award recognises the development and/or provision of a product or service that contributes to our green economy.

GREENEST COMMUNITY PROJECT – sponsored by Mosscliff Environmental Celebrating a community or a group of local volunteers who are working together to improve their surrounding environment, raising environmental awareness and making a difference to others.

GREENEST SCHOOL - The Public Vote sponsored by EDF Energy This award recognises any educational establishment that is making efforts to increase pupil and staff awareness and make actions to improve environmental performance.

LANDSCAPE AND BIODIVERSITY - in association with Aldeburgh Music Open to an individual or group, for a project or on-going work, large or small scale, which is enhancing Suffolk’s unique landscape or providing new opportunities for wildlife to thrive.

LOCAL FOOD AND DRINK - sponsored by East of England Co-op Celebrating inspiring contributions helping produce or promote (or both), sustainable food or drink.

RENEWABLE ENERGY - sponsored by Suffolk One Can you show excellence in generating renewable energy? Has your scheme shown an innovative approach to funding, has it delivered wider benefits to the community or is it integrated into the local landscape. If so, we want to hear from you.

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM - sponsored by the East Anglian Daily Times A new category introduced for 2015, this award is open to tourism businesses of any size that can demonstrate a proven commitment to sustainability. Judges will look for signs of a real impact, and a business that is actively engaging with its green ethos.

WASTE AND RECYCLING - sponsored by SITA Open to anyone, school, business, community or individual, who has taken an innovative approach towards waste reduction, re-use and recycling or upcycling.

The closing date for entries is January 31. To find out more about the awards and to submit a nomination, visit