A passionate motorsports fan has launched her own events company to support the mental health of the automotive community after graduating with a first-class degree from Loughborough College.
Clare Gaffoor, 31, of Loughborough, was awarded a BA(Hons) Events Management degree at a special graduation ceremony held at Loughborough Town Hall.
She was working as a driver for a car parts company three years ago, but couldn’t ignore her burning ambition to get involved in events, having spent a decade volunteering to support events for various brands.
Now, with her newly developed skills Clare has founded PITSTOP.Social, a company which organises automotive-themed social experiences focused on Mental Health and is about to embark on a Masters degree in Marketing at Loughborough University.
“I want to challenge social stigmas, promote awareness, and localise support within the automotive community,” she said.
“PITSTOP.Social aims to create a platform for communitas, belonging, and shared knowledge. My ambition now is to continue developing the insight that will further support the creation of life-changing events for individuals, the way that events have been life-changing for me.”
Clare completed a Foundation Degree in Events Management before moving onto the top-up degree course at Loughborough College’s Higher Education centre after a friend told her about it.
She said: “I was keen to develop my skills and find a way into the Motorsport Industry within a professional capacity. It was a friend who suggested I could pursue a degree in Event Management, and so the seed was planted.
“It was initially very challenging for me to consider coming back into education as I had a frustrating school experience where I felt neglected and misunderstood. When I applied, I really didn't expect to be accepted – but now I feel like I've been given a second chance, and the support I received has changed not only my perceptions of education, but also of people, life, and my place within it.”
Clare said the course was engaging, and driven by tutors with a clear passion for their subject. “Every tutor clearly enjoyed their work! They created really engaging presentations and interactive ways to deliver the course and I felt they always supported the class towards deadlines from a true place of care.
“There was never a moment where I was without access to support, resources, or guidance throughout my three years at Loughborough College. It has changed my perception on education, I wish I could stay longer!”
Clare said her biggest challenge was switching to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding: “Exclusive online learning during the global pandemic was possibly the biggest challenge I’ve overcome as an adult. It wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated support of my tutors, and their consistent reminders to ‘reach out’.
“Having lecturers and staff members support, encourage and believe in me… going above and beyond to ensure I am able to achieve my full potential. I am forever grateful for the confidence and self-belief they have instilled in me.”
Chris Cockerton, Dean of Higher Education at Loughborough College, said: “Congratulations to Clare on gaining a first-class degree with us. She is a wonderful example of someone whose passion and dedication to pursuing her dreams has paid off.
“We’re so proud of all our students who have overcome extraordinary challenges in the last 18 months and it has been a privilege to support them to achieve their goals and create the best possible experience and opportunities for them.”
Student satisfaction with Loughborough College’s higher education programmes increased in 2021, placing the college just 1% behind the highest ranked University in the country, according to the
National Student Survey 2021.
It showed ‘overall satisfaction with the quality of courses’ at College rose by 2% to 85%, a full 10% higher than the national average.