STUDENTS on Coleg Gwent’s eSports course have been organising gaming events to help people through the coronavirus lockdown and raise money for charity.

The course was established at Coleg Gwent’s Ebbw Vale campus this year, and aims to capitalise on the growing eSports - playing video games online both competitively and collaboratively - industry, as well as allowing students to develop practical skills which can be applied to a range of multimedia-based careers.

As part of the course, students have to organise eSports events, however due to the lockdown, they have had to do so from home.


One student used her event to raise awareness for Papyrus, a charity which aims to prevent youth suicides.

Nerissa Vaughan, 22, from Brynmawr, organised an event playing Teamfight Tactics – a strategy game playable on PC or mobile.

“Initially I was supposed to be working with Cardiff University to set up the tournament there, but with Covid-19 we had to do it by ourselves," she said.

“The people who turned up had fun, and we raised some money for charity.”

South Wales Argus:

(Nerissa Vaughan's gaming event to raise awareness for mental health charity Papyrus. Pictures Nerissa Vaughan)

Miss Vaughan said how gaming can be used to have a positive impact on young people’s mental health, especially during the current climate.

“Personally, when I am feeling my mental health has been hit hard, I go online and talking to people I’ve met online and being able to play and have fun and not really worry about what is going on in the world de-stresses me," she said.

“It also helps people stay in contact with their friends and family.”

South Wales Argus:

Nerissa Vaughan, a student on Coleg Gwent's eSports course, organised a gaming event to raise awareness for mental health charity Papyrus. Pictures Nerissa Vaughan

The World Health Organisation recently teamed up with leaders in the video game industry to launch the #PlayApartTogether campaign to encourage social interaction during the coronavirus lockdown.

Steve Hunt, game art and design lecturer and OCR media course leader at Coleg Gwent, said: “Gaming, and especially online gaming with friends, is a good way to lose track of time - it’s called game flow.

“As long as you don’t over-do it, it can be a good way of de-stressing in these times.

South Wales Argus:

Media course leader Steve Hunt has launched an eSports course at Coleg Gwent's Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone. Picture: Steve Hunt.

“The WHO have now backtracked after adding 'gaming disorder' to its list of addictive behaviours last year, now saying that playing games is a good way for people to relax and relieve anxiety.

“Mental health is often overlooked in the eSports industry. People can have issues with the pressure of streaming having that internet presence.

“We are hoping to do a lot more working with Papyrus in the future.”

Mr Hunt said he was working on organising a Coleg Gwent ‘Campus Clash tournament’, where each of the college’s campuses could enter teams and compete, at the same time raising awareness about mental health.