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Leicester student wins nationwide creative competition

A sixth form student has won a nationwide competition for her design of a sensory garden.

Emily Haycock, 17, from WQE College, scooped the Category C prize for her The Sound of Eden design in the Transformative Joyful Design category of the Falmouth Creative, Connected and Courageous (CCC) Challenges competition this summer.

The competition, run by Falmouth University, is open to students aged 16 or over from school, sixth form, first year of further education (or equivalent), as well as current Falmouth University students, placeholders and applicants.

Emily said: “Despite the lockdown, our teachers were engaged with our learning and progression. The Art department suggested the Falmouth CCC Challenges to us, as a way of developing our skills. I was excited to see an Architecture competition among the 10 challenges.”

“I had some experience from my enrichment (CAD for Architecture and Design) in using online design programmes which propelled my design process. I used a similar framework and process we use in our Art coursework, so I was able to create an idea that I was extremely proud of.”

Her creation was inspired by the different ways that people take a break from stress or overwhelming situations. The notion of an escape and distraction brought back a memory of a visit to the re-developed Birkett House Community Special School for children with moderate to profound disabilities.

She said: “The sensory rooms were what stood out to me. Sensory gardens have been used for children, particularly those with disabilities, but also elderly with Alzheimer’s. After researching, I found articles describing the positive effects that sensory distraction has on levels of anxiety and stress.

“I decided to design a sensory garden for the city; sparking life into industrial lives of those working long hours. I was interested to see how ideas that have helped many children and adults with disabilities could be projected into everyday life and prove to have equally beneficial results, particularly for working adults under pressure. Transforming the typical walk in the park into an immersive sensory experience.”

Delighted with her award win, Emily said: “I was ecstatic when I found out I had won the Year 12 category. I am thrilled to have had this valuable opportunity that I can use as an example of my abilities in Architecture, that will aid me as I move forward into university next year.
Emily was rewarded with £500 in vouchers for her inspiring work.

Melanie Harper, Assistant Curriculum Area Leader for Media and Creative Arts, and Emily’s Art and Design teacher at WQE College, said: “We are extremely proud of Emily’s award win. Emily has a passion for Architecture and an incredible skill for attention to detail. Her work is stunning, and she is a most deserved winner and an inspiration to her peers.”

To find out more about Visual, Expressive and Performing Arts courses at WQE College, visit

Emily Haycock, student at WQE

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